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Helena native Sean O'Malley defeats top contender Petr Yan by split decision at UFC 280

Sean O'Malley
Posted at 2:05 PM, Oct 22, 2022

The UFC has a new No. 1 contender at men's bantamweight.

And that fighter hails from the Treasure State.

Helena native Sean "Sugar" O'Malley defeated Petr Yan by split decision Saturday afternoon at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for O'Malley and one scored it 29-28 for Yan.

Yan, from Russia, entered the fight as the former bantamweight champion and as the No. 1 contender at bantamweight (135 pounds) in the official UFC rankings. O'Malley, 27, ranked at No. 11.

The two went back-and-forth in a tough matchup where both fighters got clipped with big hits. According to the official stats, Yan landed 97 total strikes while O'Malley landed 91. However, O'Malley had the clear advantage with significant strikes with 84 to Yan's 58. O'Malley landed 40 significant strikes in the third round to Yan's 15.

Yan's advantage was on the ground and in takedowns. Yan took O'Malley down six times and had control time for 5 minutes and 44 seconds.

O'Malley (16-1, 1 no contest), improved his record in the UFC to 8-1 with one no contest in the promotion.

UFC president Dana White said during the week leading up to the fight that the winner would be next in line for the title shot at bantamweight.