Fight fans are in for a treat later this year, as the UFC has booked a bantamweight clash between Petr Yan (16-3) and Sean O’Malley (15-1) for UFC 280 in October.
Even though “Suga Sean” has shown the talents and swagger to make a showdown against a fighter in the top five at 135 pounds exciting, this fight represents a significant step up in competition for him.
O’Malley, who is currently rated 13th, has long made noise about wanting to compete against the best of the best. He will now get the opportunity to compete against Yan, the top contender, a former champion and one of the fiercest bantamweights on the planet.
Bodog has released Yan vs O’Malley odds, where “No Mercy” opens as the -400 favorite, leaving O’Malley as the +300 underdog.
Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley Betting Odds
Odds as of July 26 via Bodog
Analyzing the Yan vs O’Malley odds using our sports betting calculator, Yan’s -400 odds translate to an implied win probability of 80 percent. O’Malley’s +300 odds suggest he has a 25 percent chance to win. That means a successful $10 bet on the Russian would pay out just $12.50, while the same bet on the American earns you $40.
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Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley Betting Odds Analysis
For Yan, being the chalk is a very familiar feeling. The 29-year-old has been favored in all 10 of his UFC fights and entered his most recent bout – a bantamweight title unification vs Aljamain Sterling – at -450.
Sterling pulled off the upset at UFC 273, wrestling Yan to the ground and taking his back for large portions of the fight. The split-decision loss to Aljo humbled Yan a bit, carving the path for the Russian to accept a “for-the-fans” fight with O’Malley.
O’Malley, on the other hand, has never tangled with anyone like Yan before. The Montana native’s only real comparable foe was Pedro Munhoz, whom he squared up against at UFC 276. A -330 favorite heading into that fight, O’Malley landed rangy strikes, setting up his path to a decision win before an accidental eye poke resulted in a no-contest.
Coming off three straight KO wins, the 27-year-old has never been an underdog in his UFC career. But a showdown with one of the division’s best makes it very clear why he’s not favored in the Yan vs O’Malley odds.
Yan vs O’Malley Preview: Suga Sean Is More Dynamic
Everyone loves Suga Sean for his colorful hair and exotic, spinning striking style, which has led to a few eye-popping knockouts. If there’s a criticism to be made about O’Malley, though, it’s that his propensity for the razzle-dazzle outweighs his technical prowess or his fight IQ. That’s not necessarily the case.
O’Malley’s speed and creativity will be his ticket to victory against the slower, stockier Yan. The former champ often holds a very high guard, shelling up to protect from blows to the head. One of Yan’s previous opponents, Cory Sandhagen, found ways around that at UFC 267, focusing on front kicks and long hooks to the body.
As the taller fighter packing a five-inch reach advantage over Yan, the blueprints are there for O’Malley to come out on top. If he stays active and mixes in various kicks to the head and body, there’s an opportunity to do some damage.
Will Yan Get Rattled?
Yan is a determined, cold-blooded fighter, but sometimes that aptitude for killing his opponent works in the wrong direction. His rivalry and subsequent rematch with Sterling was a good example of this.
The Russian has no love for the current champ, talking smack on social media and criticizing Sterling for embellishing his disqualification at UFC 259. “No Mercy” promptly entered their bout at UFC 273 like a man on a mission, swinging wildly with intent behind each bomb.
Instead of fighting smart, it looked like Yan was fighting angry, with each missed strike exposing him to a counter and lowering his energy in the process. O’Malley is a smooth enough trash-talker and deadly enough in the Octagon to clobber Yan if he comes into UFC 280 with the same mindset. Watch for Yan’s attitude to be a difference-maker.
Yan vs O’Malley Betting Pick
For all that O’Malley does right, Yan is still the more polished fighter. He’s stronger, he’s more experienced and holds the upper hand in the clinch and on the ground. We expect O’Malley to hold his own; he has the talent to do so, but it’s far more likely Yan will out-will him when the going gets tough.
There will come a time when Suga Sean finally breaks into the UFC’s elite tier, but it just won’t happen this year. Instead, we expect Yan to school O’Malley on what it takes to become a champion, with Sean walking away a better fighter for it.
Pick: Yan (-400) by decision (TBD)
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Odds Shark Staff Sat, Aug 13, 4:03am