Exclusive – Urijah Faber unsure Sean O’Malley wins fight with Merab Dvalishvili: ‘That’s a bad matchup’

Urijah Faber unsure Sean O'Malley beats Merab Dvalishvili that's a bad matchup for himUrijah Faber recently spoke with us here at Lowkick MMA and gave his thoughts on how the current bantamweight…

Urijah Faber unsure Sean O'Malley beats Merab Dvalishvili that's a bad matchup for him

Urijah Faber recently spoke with us here at Lowkick MMA and gave his thoughts on how the current bantamweight champion, Sean O’Malley, would fare against what many consider to be his toughest challenger yet: Merab Dvalishvili.

It seems almost fated that O’Malley and Dvalishvili will fight for the title. ‘Suga’ keeps icing everybody the UFC puts in his way, and Dvalishvili has been a seemingly unstoppable force in the 135lbs division for a long time now. ‘The Machine’ is currently riding an astonishing 10-fight win streak inside the UFC, and it’s getting virtually impossible to deny him a title shot now.

Urijah Faber Sacramento State Combat U

The debate of Sean O’Malley vs Merab Dvalishvili is an intriguing one. Some don’t see how O’Malley will be able to contain the near nonstop pressure of ‘The Machine’, while others believe ‘Suga’ will rise to the occasion. Urijah Faber was kind enough to weigh in on this matter and provide his opinion as a UFC hall-of-famer and elite MMA coach.

Urijah Faber weighs in on the matchup between Sean O’Malley and Merab Dvalishvili

“I think it’s going to be hard to say,” Urijah Faber told LowKick MMA reporter Makoa Goble when asked how O’Malley might handle the offensive wrestling pressure that ‘The Machine’ can bring to the table. “You would think so, but nobody else has been able to (stop the wrestling), even Henry Cejudo.”

Merab Dvalishvili’s smothering wrestling pressure has been unstoppable so far. Many have accurately described ‘The Machine’ as a ‘grinder’, and it is true. For the most part, he simply gives his opponents no quarter and no room to breathe.

Sean O'Malley

“Honestly, that’s a bad matchup for O’Malley,” Faber continued. “Because Merab is so durable. That dude is durable. He’s gone against some killers, and just kind of walked through their best offense. The only time he’s really been hurt is when he knocked himself out, slamming himself, ya know.”

“But, O’Malley has got that It factor. He’s got a finesse about him, he’s got like a matador type of style. Merab is definitely a bull, and If O’Malley can have his perfect fight, he’ll just be tagging him with clean shots and staying on the outside. O’Malley’s grappling is really good. I’ve trained with some of his training partners, and they are really high-level training partners… It could go either way.”

Who do you think will win between Sean O’Malley and Merab Dvalishvili?

‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley shares screenshot from fabled sparring session with UFC 301’s Alexandre Pantoja

'Sugar' Sean O'Malley releases screenshot from his fabled sparring session with UFC 301's Alexandre PantojaAhead of Alexandre Pantoja’s next flyweight title defense, ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley released a screenshot from a past sparring session…

'Sugar' Sean O'Malley releases screenshot from his fabled sparring session with UFC 301's Alexandre Pantoja

Ahead of Alexandre Pantoja’s next flyweight title defense, ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley released a screenshot from a past sparring session between the two titleholders. 

This Saturday night, Pantoja puts his 125-pound crown on the line against unlikely title challenger Steve Erceg in the UFC 301 headliner in Rio de Janeiro.

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Steve Erceg

The fight comes five months removed from a successful defense against Brandon Royval at UFC 290 in December.

Alexandre Pantoja

Days before their highly anticipated clash in Brazil, Sean O’Malley shared an image from a 2015 sparring session where ‘Sugar’ is said to have folded ‘The Cannibal’ with a perfectly placed liver shot.

Sean O'Malley sparring Alexandre Pantoja

At that point, Pantoja had not yet made his UFC debut but already competed in 18 fights as a professional mixed martial artist whereas O’Malley turned pro the same year he threw hands with Pantoja in the gym.

Tim Welch Reveals How Sean O’Malley Put Down Alexandre Pantoja

Sean O’Malley’s longtime coach Tim Welch offered some insight into the incident on his YouTube channel, confirming that ‘Sugar’ promptly put Pantoja down during the encounter.

“[He wasn’t] really in fight camp at all,” Welch said on his YouTube channel. “Going to sparring to get a few rounds in and Henry [Cejudo] is like, ‘Hey, you want to spar this guy?’

“So Sean says ‘Yeah, I’ll spar him.’ They spar one round, Sean comes out on a rip, puts him down. Puts him down in the first minute. Now mind you this is — I don’t even remember what year this is — I don’t even think Sean was a professional yet, he might have been a professional just breaking in. Sean comes out there, bounces around, young buck. Boom, hits him with a liver shot, puts him down.

“Pantoja has to stop, he has to wave it off, go over to Henry, kneel down, call it off. I mean there’s a video, never released video but he puts him down” (h/t MMA Mania).

UFC lightweight champ Islam Makhachev is giving Sean O’Malley nightmares: ‘Thank God that wasn’t real’

Sean O'Malley and Islam MakhachevReigning UFC lightweight world champion Islam Makhachev is so good, he’s giving his fellow fighters nightmares. At least, that’s…

Sean O'Malley and Islam Makhachev

Reigning UFC lightweight world champion Islam Makhachev is so good, he’s giving his fellow fighters nightmares.

At least, that’s the case for Sean O’Malley, the promotion’s current bantamweight titleholder. During a recent episode of the TimboSugarShow podcast with his coach and friend Tim Welch, ‘Sugar’ revealed that the ‘Dagestani Destroyer’ had recently invaded his dreams.

“I’d say Islam, Islam’s so f*cking scary,” O’Malley said. “I had a nightmare that I had to fight him, I woke up and I was- ‘Oh God, thank God that wasn’t real ’cause I’d knock that motherf*cker out!’”

O’Malley quickly changed his tune, admitting that he was relieved upon waking up.

“No, I actually woke up and was like ‘Oh f*ck that,’” O’Malley said. “I thought I was going to walk out and fight Islam.”

Sean O’Malley is currently gearing up for his first defense of the 135-pound title at UFC 299 on March 9. ‘Sugar’ will run it back with the first and only man to defeat him inside the Octagon, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera, when the promotion returns to Miami, Florida.

As for Islam Makhachev, the lightweight sensation is coming off back-to-back wins over featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev bested ‘The Great’ in a Fight of the Year contender at UFC 284 last February, escaping with a closely contested decision. The two ran it back when Volkanovski stepped in on 11 days’ notice at UFC 294 after Makhachev’s original opponent, Charles Oliveira, withdrew due to injury. This time around, Makhachev finished Volkanovski via a first-round KO.

“He’s so well-rounded, he’s skilled as f*ck,” O’Malley added. “I’d say Islam’s probably like that next f*cking level.”

Sean O’Malley hilariously shuts down rematch call from Aljamain Sterling at UFC 293 in brutal clap back

Sean O'Malley hilariously shuts down Aljamain Sterling call for rematch during UFC 293Appearing to skirt a future title defense at the bantamweight limit against the streaking, Merab Dvalishvili in his Octagon return –  newly-minted champion, Sean O’Malley has shut down an immediate title defense rematch with Aljamain Sterling next, after the Uniondale native called for a re-run during the broadcast of UFC 293 last night. O’Malley, just […]

Sean O'Malley hilariously shuts down Aljamain Sterling call for rematch during UFC 293

Appearing to skirt a future title defense at the bantamweight limit against the streaking, Merab Dvalishvili in his Octagon return –  newly-minted champion, Sean O’Malley has shut down an immediate title defense rematch with Aljamain Sterling next, after the Uniondale native called for a re-run during the broadcast of UFC 293 last night.

O’Malley, just the second fighter from Dana White’s Contender Series to land Octagon gold, managed to do so last month in the main event of UFC 292, toppling the dominant Sterling with a spectacular second round TKO victory in Boston, Massachusetts.

And targeting a comeback to the Octagon before the close of this year – potentially on December 16. at UFC 296 in Las Vegas, Nevada, O’Malley has firmly set sights on a bid to avenge his sole professional loss in a showdown against former-foe, Marlon Vera.

Sean O’Malley claps back at Aljamain Sterling during UFC 293 broadcast

However, as for Sterling, the Serra-Longo MMA mainstay has made his thoughts on his future clear, displaying a note for O’Malley on his phone – calling for an immediate title rematch on the broadcast of UFC 293.

Seated back home in the United States and obviously tuning into watch the action at UFC 293 last night in Sydney, Australia – O’Malley clapped back and definitively shut down calls from Sterling for a rematch, simply showing his own phone screen with the word, “No”.  

Expected to pursue a title rematch with Vera next, as mentioned above, Montana native, O’Malley has already shut down the possibility of a clash with Georgia native, Dvalishvili, claiming his win over Sterling in August is as good as a win over the Tbilisi grappling star.

“I knocked out Merab (Dvalishvili) on August 19th, the same night I knocked out Aljo (Aljamain Sterling),” Sean O’Malley said. “They’re the same, they hold hands, they’re the same person. I knocked them both out August 19th, so we’ll see what happens. I’ve called out the ‘Chito’ fight before me versus Aljo, before Pedro versus ‘Chito’.”

“I said, ‘Hey, ‘Chito’ goes out there and wins, I go out there and win, I’m fighting ‘Chito’ for my first title defense,’ And that’s what happened,” Sean O’Malley explained. That’s what’s going to happen next in my eyes. That’s what I want, but at the end of the day, I’ll go out there and knock out whoever they [the UFC] put in front of me.” 

Would you like to see Sean O’Malley fight Aljamain Sterling again next?

Sean O’Malley coach Tim Welch reveals why referee warned him during UFC 292 headliner

O'MalleyMoments before Sean O’Malley delivered a perfectly timed counter right hand that made him a world champion, his coach, Tim Welch, was given a stern warning by referee Marc Goddard. ‘Sugar’ scored the biggest win of his mixed martial arts career on August 19, landing a highlight-reel-worthy knockout against Aljamain Sterling in the second round […]

O'Malley

Moments before Sean O’Malley delivered a perfectly timed counter right hand that made him a world champion, his coach, Tim Welch, was given a stern warning by referee Marc Goddard.

‘Sugar’ scored the biggest win of his mixed martial arts career on August 19, landing a highlight-reel-worthy knockout against Aljamain Sterling in the second round of their UFC 292 headliner. But moments before the epic knockout blow landed, O’Malley’s longtime coach and podcast partner, Tim Welch was reprimanded by the presiding referee.

Many fans were left confused as to what Welch was doing off-camera that garnered the referee’s attention, but in a recent MiddleEasy exclusive interview with James Lynch, Welch revealed the reason.

“I just was talking to Aljo, because I knew in Aljo’s last three fights, he pressures people until they kick,” Welch said. “And when they kick, he catches the kick and runs them into the fence. Cory Sandhagen, TJ Dillashaw, some of his fights he does that.

I just wanted to remind him of Marlon Moraes… a ‘Marlon Moraes’ is coming, I wanted to do something to hesitate him from coming forward so hard and taking such shots. I wanted to freeze him up a little bit. It might’ve been worth it, might not have, but [Marc Goddard] was just saying ‘Don’t talk to Aljo’” (h/t MMA News).

Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn’t. But we all know what happened roughly 60 seconds later.

Fresh off his big title win, Sean O’Malley is already looking toward his first UFC title defense. Determined to return to the Octagon in December for UFC 296, ‘Sugar’ has his sights set on a clash with the only man to defeat him under the UFC banner, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera. No official announcements have been made as O’Malley is currently nursing a rib injury sustained during the UFC 292 main event, but all signs currently point to O’Malley vs. ‘Chito’ running it back later this year.

Cory Sandhagen scoffs at Sean O’Malley’s career advice: ‘There’s things about him that are super lame’

Cory Sandhagen scoffs at career advice from super lame Sean O'Malley UFC 292Ahead of his return to the Octagon this weekend atop a UFC Fight Night Nashville card, surging bantamweight technician, Cory Sandhagen has elected against taking career advice from incoming title challenger, Sean O’Malley – describing certain characteristics of the Montana native as “super lame”. Sandhagen, the current number four ranked bantamweight contender, makes his Octagon […]

Cory Sandhagen scoffs at career advice from super lame Sean O'Malley UFC 292

Ahead of his return to the Octagon this weekend atop a UFC Fight Night Nashville card, surging bantamweight technician, Cory Sandhagen has elected against taking career advice from incoming title challenger, Sean O’Malley – describing certain characteristics of the Montana native as “super lame”.

Sandhagen, the current number four ranked bantamweight contender, makes his Octagon return this weekend at UFC Nashville – taking on short-notice replacement, Rob Font, after an initial scheduled clash against the streaking, Umar Nurmagomedov fell to the wayside.

Sidelined since April, Eliot Marshall trainee, Sandhagen most recently turned in a one-sided split decision win over common-foe, Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night San Antonio, which followed a prior fourth round doctor’s stoppage win over Song Yadong in another headlined last year.

For O’Malley, the Dana White’s Contender Series alum has been sidelined himself since October of last year, earning next week’s UFC 292 title fight against champion, Aljamain Sterling with a close judging win of his own over former gold holder and common-opponent, Petr Yan.

Cory Sandhagen explains his differences with Sean O’Malley

Sharing his thoughts on recent comments made in a bid to advise fighters from O’Malley, Sandhagen admitted that he could not “connect” with some of the thought processes of the title chaser.

“There are things about Sean O’Malley that I think are just like, super lame,” Cory Sandhagen told Shakiel Mahjouri during a recent interview. “Talking about things like, ‘You fight the worst guy for the most amount of money.’ Everything being like, business decisions. It’s like, I can’t connect with that type of thinking at all. To me, those are ways of thinking that are just weak and they’re ways of thinking that are gonna trend into ruining the sport a little bit, in my opinion.”

“You should want to fight the best guy,” Cory Sandhagen explained. “If you’re here to be the actual world champion, that’s what we’re doing. I don’t see this as a business really… I make good money now, I’m good. The greediness and the business decisions things that happen in a lot of these ways of thinking are, to me, lame. I don’t think that passing on the message that you should fight the worst guy for the most amount of money – that is just such a weak way of thinking.” (Transcribed by MMA News)

Would you like to see Cory Sandhagen fight Sean O’Malley in the future?