UFC Vegas 60 Headliner Wants To Outclass Sean O’Malley for Big Opportunity

UFC, Sean O'Malley

Getty Sean O'Malley reacts following his bantamweight bout against Pedro Munhoz.

UFC superstar Cory Sandhagen is looking to make a statement tonight in hopes of edging Sean O’Malley for a title shot.

Sandhagen is set to take on Song Yadong tonight in the headlining bout of UFC Vegas 60 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Song goes into the bout looking to extend his three-fight win streak. It will be his chance to possibly break into the top five with a victory over the fourth-ranked bantamweight contender. Coming off two consecutive losses to former champions TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan, Sandhagen will look to get back to winning ways.

One of the hottest rising prospects, O’Malley is scheduled to face a major jump up in competition when he faces Yan at UFC 280 on Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. While still on the periphery of the top-ten, “Suga” Sean quickly amassed a sizeable fan following after making his way into the promotion through the “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

During Wednesday’s media day for UFC Fight Night 210, Sandhagen shared his thoughts on the upcoming matchup between O’Malley and Yan. Although “Sandman” could see O’Malley get a title shot if he defeats Yan, he wants to edge out O’Malley for the opportunity with a statement win against Yadong.

“He probably will,” Sandhagen said via MMA Junkie. “Yan’s a good fighter. Yan almost beat Sterling in his last one. He was kind of beating him in the one before that. So if (O’Malley) wins, then sure, I guess. I don’t really have an opinion about it, and I don’t want to say yes because maybe if I win this weekend, then I can maybe jump in that spot if it’s impressive enough. But I think beating Yan might get you a title shot, yeah.”

Sandhagen Believes O’Malley Has the Advantage in the Three-Round Fight

Former interim 135-pound title holder Yan is notorious for being a slow starter who is willing to take it easy in the opening rounds of a bout and then steps up the pressure later in the fight. In stark comparison, O’Malley is an aggressive striker who is always on the lookout for a highlight reel finish.

Sandhagen believes O’Malley will have the advantage over Yan because it would be a three-round contest as opposed to a five-round one.

“Yeah, (I’m) super surprised,” Sandhagen said. “We’ll see how it goes for him, I guess. It’s three rounds, so that’s a little bit more of an advantage for O’Malley, but I think Yan is not a stupid guy, and I think that he’s definitely learned from his mistakes in the past, which have been not being aggressive enough in the first round, so I don’t think he’s going to make that same mistake.”

Sandhagen Was Not Impressed by O’Malley’s Last Outing

O’Malley was last in action against Pedro Munhoz in what many expected to be a challenge for the Montana native. However, an accidental eye poke from O’Malley would result in a no contest in the second round.

Sandhagen was not impressed by O’Malley’s performance in his last showing and did not feel like it warrants a top contender bout.

“I think Sean’s last showing against Munhoz wasn’t good. Nothing really happened in the first round, and then he poked the guy in the eye in the second one. So whatever narrative has been around that fight, that’s how that fight went, which, should you fight the No. 1 guy after a performance like that? My opinion, no. But what do I know?”

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