Sean O’Malley is taking a major step up in his next fight, announcing to ESPN’s Ryan Clark on Wednesday that he’ll be facing former bantamweight champion Petr Yan at UFC 280 on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
O’Malley (15-1 1 NC), one of the sport’s most talented prospects, fought to a no contest at UFC 276 against Pedro Munhoz as a result of a medical stoppage due to an eye poke, ultimately confirmed as a corneal abrasion. The 27-year-old fights out of Glendale, Arizona, and is 7-1 with one NC in the UFC.
“I’m getting the fight that I wanted and the fight that the people want,” O’Malley told Clark. “In my eyes, Petr is the No. 1 contender right now. He’s pretty much 1-1 against Aljo (Aljamain Sterling) … he could be considered the champion. … Going in there and stepping up against a guy like Petr is exciting, it’s motivating and it’s the biggest fight in the bantamweight division right now.”
Yan (16-3, 8-2 UFC), 29, lost to Sterling at UFC 273 in April in a rematch for the bantamweight title. His boxing is among the best in the sport and will be a test for O’Malley, who hasn’t faced a striker of his caliber to date.
Yan is ranked No. 2 at bantamweight by ESPN. O’Malley is unranked.
A lightweight title showdown between Charles Oliveira (33-8) and Islam Makhachev (22-1) will headline the Oct. 22 card.