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Will Sean O'Malley continue his rise at UFC252?

Sean O'Malley has the chance to become a major superstar in Mixed Martial Arts but he must be war...

Will Sean O'Malley continue hi...
Other Sports

Will Sean O'Malley continue his rise at UFC252?

Sean O'Malley has the chance to become a major superstar in Mixed Martial Arts but he must be wary of the sport's innate ability to bring hype crashing to the mat.

Edmen Shahbazyan found this out the hard way two weeks ago. The 22-year-old was touted to barrel through Derek Brunson as he continued his ascent towards the upper echelons of the middleweight division.

Brunson turned back the clock to deliver a devastating reality check for Shahbazyan in the third round, stopping him in his tracks. Shahbazyan will be forced to reflect and reassess before returning to the cage once more.

Prospects in the UFC regularly come up short in such ways. At UFC 252 perhaps the most exciting young name in the sport has the opportunity to dispel this notion.

June 6, 2020; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Sean O'Malley punches Eddie Wineland in their bantamweight bout during UFC 250 at the UFC APEX. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA

Since returning from a suspension from the sport last March, O'Malley has shown why he is a budding superstar.

Consecutive knockouts over Jose Quinonez and Eddie Wineland have secured a top 15 spot in the UFC's bantamweight rankings for 'Suga Sean' and he is now honing in on the big names atop the division.

His personality outside of the cage shines through in every engagement he has with the media, too.

The spectacular one-punch walk-off knockout of Wineland in June was outstanding and the performance featured all of the usual flash we have come to expect from O'Malley.

The languid style he employs lulled Wineland, and those watching at home, to sleep before a vicious blow turned out the lights. It was a brilliant performance that only accelerated the hype behind the 25-year-old from Montana.

Suga Sean's opponent at UFC252, Marlon 'Chito' Vera, will test him more than anyone has so far, something that O'Malley acknowledged in a recent interview with Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole.

"He's never been finished so if I go out there and put him away, that's a huge step," O'Malley said.

"I hit people on the chin, I put people to sleep by putting it right on the chin. I'm fast and I hit people accurately."

Confidence oozes from O'Malley and that combination of calling your shot before executing has proven to be a huge moneymaker in the UFC in the past. There is nothing more irresistible in combat sports than a fighter on the come-up seemingly dictating their course of fate.

Vera is an excellent fighter in his own right. The Ecuadorian has won five of his last six fights in the UFC, only narrowly losing a decision in his last outing. While Vera is currently unranked he has a wealth of experience to draw from having competed professionally since 2011.

Having blasted by Wineland on a pay-per-view main card in his last outing, the rising star, O'Malley now finds himself directly beneath Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic who complete their heavyweight title trilogy on Saturday night.

With each fight, the UFC is incrementally increasing the pressure on Suga Sean, raising the stakes and the calibre of opponent. The slow-burn approach to building up O'Malley is a wise move from on the UFC's part.

Mar 7, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Sean
O'malley (red gloves) fights Jose Quinonez (blue gloves) during UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA

A highlight reel win against Vera in the co-main event slot will instantly see O' Malley's star power sky-rocket.

The bantamweight division is one of the deepest weight classes in the promotion and there are any number of exciting fights available should he perform at UFC252.

In Daniel Cormier, a star will walk away from MMA for good this weekend. The Olympian and former-two weight world champion will see the curtains close on a wonderful athletic career and he could exit the sport as a champion with a second win over Stipe Miocic.

While one legend exits the game, are we about to see another being born at UFC252?

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Bantamweight Daniel Cormier Mma STIPE MIOCIC Sean O'Malley UFC252