Sean O'Malley's coach predicts rough ending at UFC 292 against Aljamain Sterling

Sean O’Malley is optimistic that his fight with Aljamain Sterling ends with the champ out cold.

The two meet in the main event of UFC 292 in Boston on Aug. 19, with O’Malley looking to halt Aljamain Sterling’s two-year run with the bantamweight title. Sean O’Malley has gone unbeaten in his past four outings to earn the shot, including a thrilling split decision win over Petr Yan.

A noted knockout artist, Sean O’Malley isn’t pretending that his preferred strategy will change when he takes on Sterling.

“I’m going to do what I do,” O’Malley said at a media scrum backstage at UFC 290 on Saturday in Las Vegas. “It’s no secret, this is a striker vs. grappler matchup. That’s it. I’m going to go out there and try to put his lights out. I do that every time I fight. Has there been anybody that’s hurt Petr Yan? Anyone that’s been able to catch him? Crack him? I dropped him to a knee in the second round.

“I can find people’s chins. I do find people’s chins. I built a career off knocking people out in the first round. He cuts a lot of weight and when you cut a lot of weight that brain liquid goes away, it doesn’t take many shots. It can take one shot right on the chin to put him down and I know I’m capable of that, so that’s how I see it going down.”

Sean O’Malley vs Aljamain Sterling

Aljamain Sterling has been knocked out just once in his career, back in December 2017 when an ill-timed shot led to him eating a knee to the face from Marlon Moraes. Not only was that the last time Sterling was KO’d, it’s the last time he last at all, as he’s rattled off nine straight wins since then.

Most recently, Sterling spoiled the comeback of former two-division champion Henry Cejudo by earning a split nod at UFC 288. Given Sterling’s accomplishments, Sean O’Malley understands why he’s the underdog heading into their title match.

“Look at who he’s beaten, look at the guys he’s beaten the last four or five fights,” O’Malley said. “My best win is over Petr Yan, very close fight, very tough fight. So looking at it like that, it makes sense. But that’s what Petr vs. me was, the same odds, I think they were even worse at one point. I like that. It fuels me, it’s exciting to go in there and fight the best bantamweight in the world.

“I go in there and put his lights out, what does that make me?”

The UFC bantamweight title has been difficult to hold on to, with Aljamain Sterling the only fighter so far to successfully defend it more than two consecutive times (Dominick Cruz had four straight successful defenses across the WEC and the UFC). That could convince the UFC to grant Sterling an immediate rematch should O’Malley pull off the upset.

But Sean O’Malley sees a scenario where Aljamain Sterling follows up on his plans to move up to featherweight, while he carves out his own championship legacy at 135 pounds.

“I know he’s said after this fight he’s going up to ‘45 regardless, so this is a risky fight for him,” O’Malley said. “He could go up right now, be champ and get that potential champ-champ fight, but he’s risking it because he knows he’s going to get paid.

“This is a big, big fight for him pay-per-view-wise. As far as beating him twice, there’s so many interesting guys in the division right now. I know [Deiveson] Figueiredo is fighting Dominick Cruz. So there’s some interesting fights around the corner, so I’d say no. Go in there, get the job done, he goes up to ‘45, no one cares, and then I keep fighting.”

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