Sean O’malley (12-1) Vs Thomas Almeida (22-4)
When UFC Bantamweights Sean O’Malley and Thomas Almeida meet this Saturday night it will be a make or break fight for the dangerous strikers.
The two blue-chip fighters will enter the UFC Apex in Las Vegas with zero room for error. When Dana White historically answered the question “What is it you are looking for?” with “Sean O’Malley is what I’m looking for” the expectations and hype around the young fighter took off on a rocket ship. The hyped O’Malley holds an impressive 4-1 record inside the octagon. However the last we saw him was his first defeat, following a technical knockout loss to Marlon Vera in August. Almeida on the other hand was once 21-0 and the UFC’s top prospect at 135lbs. 5 fights later and the Brazilian Almeida is looking to regain the footing on his once-promising career.
O’Malley has all the flash to become the superstar they had laid him on the track to becoming. He has the looks of an EA Sports Created Fighter with his hairstyles and colors, his body being a canvas for tattoos from head to toe, and a fighting style that resembles someone mashing buttons for a combination we have never seen. At UFC 252 we saw the rocket ship run out of fuel and crash back down to earth by way of an onslaught of leg kicks. Marlon Vera was the first real adversity “The Suga Show” has faced inside the UFC and he failed the test. Highlighted in the loss was O’Malley’s lack of fundamentals when his unique striking was limited he was simply unable to rely on basic fundamentals and was quickly finished inside of the first round.
Key to victory: Using his size advantage, range, and diversity in striking to flow between stances and creates holes to land BIG shots.
Thomas Almeida is a veteran of 9 UFC fights, 5 UFC Performance bonuses, and “Thominhas” is the former Legacy FC Bantamweight Champion. The Muay Thai black belt puts together violent combinations that show no favorite place to land in a head-to-toe vicious attack of his opponents. Following a near 3 year lay-off because of eye surgery, “Thominhas” had a one-fight stint at Featherweight the 29-year-old returns to 135lbs in a last-ditch effort to salvage his career. In all the talk of his recent misfortunes, it cannot be overlooked the caliber of opponents that Almeida has lost to – #3 Rob Font, #4 Cody Garbrandt, and #11 Jimmie Riviera.
Key to victory: Attack the legs of O’Malley in EVERY way possible. Use the Muay Thai stance to enable and slow the show-stopping attacks and grind out a victory.
Tyron Woodley (19-6) Vs Vicente Luque (19-7)
As the old saying goes, what goes up must come down…but how far down can one fall?
Tyron Woodley is on the verge of the worst fall from grace in UFC history. A once well-established champion with multiple title defenses, being discussed as the Welterweight GOAT, the man that could defeat George St. Pierre. He has since gone on to lose 14 straight rounds across 3 fights with it not being 15 rounds for no reason other than he was hurt and forced to end the fight in that 15th round. A fighter whose game plan has never been too complicated, Woodley carries a right hand that can turn the lights off at any time along with a wrestling pedigree that is rarely matched inside the octagon. Yet at 38 years old and the veteran of 14 UFC fights, how much gas is left in the tank of “The Chosen One”?
Keys to victory: Tyron Woodley MUST move forward. For the first time in 3 fights, he needs to be the one initiating offense if he wants a chance at getting back in the win column.
When going through the top-caliber opponents “The Silent Assasin” Vicente Luque has beaten, it is quite an impressive list that you formulate. The likes of Thiago Santos, Mike Perry, and Belal Muhammad all have fallen at the hands of the 170lb finisher. The holder of 6 UFC bonuses over his 14 appearances, we have grown expectant of a Fight of the Night performance every time he enters the cage. Over the past 5 years, the former Ultimate Fighter has only suffered 2 defeats, both coming to top 5 ranked opponents in Stephen Thompson and Leon Edwards, further cementing himself in the division’s elite.