Sean O’Malley is expected to attract fellow bantamweight Raulian Paiva on his next trip to the Octagon at UFC 269 on December 11, according to a recent report from Brett Okamoto d’ESPN.
This isn’t the most likely match for O’Malley as the young contender tries to fight his way to the title, but again, O’Malley is the one who said he doesn’t want to fight opponents ranked because he is paid the same. Fans thought the UFC would be anxious to see O’Malley continue his rise through the division ranks, but O’Malley would end up facing a 25-year prospect at Paiva.
O’Malley, 26, has just beaten substitute Kris Moutinho and a knockout win over Thomas Almeida. Those performances helped mask his disappointing TKO loss to Marlon Vera at UFC 252, which remains the only loss of O’Malley’s record. If “Sugar” is able to work with Paiva easily, he simply has no way of continuing to fight unranked opponents. Where does it exist?
Paiva, 25, has won her last three trips to the Octagon, including her recent decision victory over bantamweight prospect Kyler Phillips. He might not be a top finisher, but Paiva is well balanced and durable, which is one of the main reasons MMA’s overall record is currently 21-3. Paiva will need to catch up a size and reach a disadvantage against O’Malley, so there’s a chance he’ll rely more on his grappling than his strike.
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