The fight started with both fighters moving around cautiously in an attempt to figure out their opponent.
O’Malley began on the outside and kept himself out of range, while Sterling attempted to dominate the center with his kicks.
The champion did have some success with his kicks, as O’Malley continued to feint in an attempt to throw off Sterling.
The close round ended with Sterling’s takedown attempt, which was dealt with. In the following round, O’Malley became more comfortable.
As Sterling came forward, O’Malley countered with a brutal right hand. Sterling hit the canvas as O’Malley launched further attacks on the champion.
Thereafter, the referee ended the bout. The victory was critical, as O’Malley grabbed a title at his first attempt. Meanwhile, for Sterling, a move up to featherweight could occur.
“Honestly this was the most nervous I’ve ever been for a fight. In my eyes, Aljamain Sterling is the best bantamweight of all time. I was a little bit nervous but I never lost the confidence because I know what I possess in this f****** right hand.
“I said going into this fight, it only takes one mistake against me. I don’t even know if that was a mistake — I’m just that f****** good,” O’Malley
“Sean is a lot better than I thought. He did really good job of being elusive and staying on the outside of the cage. I can’t say nothing bad about the guy. Congrats to him and his team. This was nothing but respect at the end of the day.
“I’ve lost before, I’ve been knocked out before. I picked myself up and I became a UFC champion. Do not be surprised if you comeback and you see me in here again and this time getting the belt. Definitely got to go back and reassess some things because if he caught me like that, I could only imagine what [Alexander] Volkanovski would do,” Sterling
Sean O’Malley def. Aljamain Sterling via a second-round TKO
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