O'Malley vs Almeida
Sean O’Malley (15-1-0) vs Thomas Almeida (22-4-0)
Both fighters will look to rebound from losses come Saturday night. “Suga” Sean suffered his first career loss to Marlon Vera back in August of last year. Almeida is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Jonathan Martinez in his last bout. He’s currently on a 3 fight losing streak.
Putting the Hype Train Back on the Tracks
Sean O’Malley burst onto the UFC scene with a contender series KO back in 2017. The prospect then went on to win 4 straight fights (his last 2 resulting in impressive TKO/KO finishes over Jose Alberto Quinonez and Eddie Wineland, respectively). During this rise, it was clear the UFC was touting him as a hot prospect. A charismatic fighter with an exciting striking style, crazy colored hair, and confidence to match it. Suga Sean merchandise running all through the UFC stores. Then he ran into Marlon Vera who was having none of it. Halfway through the first round, O’Malley seemed to suffer a foot injury and Vera wasted no time capitalizing on it, grounding and elbowing the MMA Lab prospect into a stoppage.
Almeida Looks to Snap 3 Fight Losing Streak
Thomas “Thominhas” Almeida started his UFC career with 4 straight victories (3 of them by TKO/KO) before getting matched against Cody Garbrandt back in 2016. Going into that fight, Almeida had a ton of hype behind him and was touted as a future title contender. His 21 fight winning streak was then ended in brutal fashion. He managed to rebound from his first career loss with a TKO over Albert Morales 5 months later. Unfortunately, he would fall on hard times again after the UFC matched him up with two bantamweight beasts (Jimmie Rivera and Rob Font). This prompted a jump to featherweight where he lost a competitive decision to Jonathan Martinez, extending his losing streak to 3. He is moving back down to bantamweight for this fight and will keep up 2 inches of reach and 4 inches of height.
Almeida is a better fighter than his recent record would suggest. He has good footwork, fast hands, and a good range of kicks. His striking is very technical and is the predominant reason he has 17 KO/TKO victories on his record. He’s quite comfortable just engaging in a standard kickboxing match that is evenly paced. That is simply not going to be a good strategy against O’Malley. Fighters who have had success against “Suga” Sean were aggressive and pressed the action, getting right in his face. Keeping the pace low or looking for counters will just allow O’Malley time and space to move around with his awkward footwork. He’ll then be able to land step-in straight shots or high kicks. Both of which have been landing more on Almeida recently.
Almeida has also been knocked out several times now and O’Malley has legit power at 135 pounds so this just seems like a bad matchup for him. We have seen O’Malley injure his foot twice now in the octagon so Almeida would be wise to unleash calf kicks in volume. We just can’t bank on him piling those up quick enough before getting put out.
WINNER: Sean O’Malley
Side bet: This fight has all the markings of a KO finish in the making. Take Suga by KO.