Blood is boiling between Petr Yan and Sean O’Malley.
And it became even clearer when the two met in their face-to-face staredown on Friday ahead of their UFC 280 bout. After about five seconds, Yan shoved O’Malley with two hands, drawing a reaction out of the crowd in Abu Dhabi.
The tension was building during Thursday’s pre-fight presser where both fighters got into it with words. O’Malley promised fans that he will “smash” Yan in their fight.
Yan is looking to get back into winning ways after suffering a split decision loss to champion Aljamain Sterling in April.
Yan, a former undisputed and interim champion, lost the title by disqualification after landing an illegal knee to Sterling in their first matchup in March 2021.
O’Malley has become a rising star in the division. He is undefeated in his last four fights. His latest contest, however, ended in a no contest after an accidental eye poke with Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 in July.
UFC President Dana White recently revealed that the winner of Yan-O’Malley will get a guaranteed shot at the bantamweight title.
Sterling, who currently holds the crown, will defend the belt against TJ Dillashaw also this Saturday.