Sean O’Malley watched some Saul “Canelo” Alvarez highlights prior to UFC 269 and he delivered a similar finish as the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world after he demolished Raulian Paiva with a first-round knockout.
Showcasing fast hands and impeccable technique, O’Malley was on point from the start of the fight until the finish as he was just popping Paiva with his combinations throughout the fight. After staggering Paiva with a stiff right hand, O’Malley went in for the kill as he unleashed a huge combination of punches that eventually dropped the Brazilian to the canvas as the referee rushed in to stop the fight.
The end came at 4:42 in the first round.
“I wanted to put him up against the cage and tee off like [‘Canelo’ Alvarez],” O’Malley said about his finish. “Honestly I think he’s one of the toughest guys I Have fought but when I land those big shots, I’m going to take you out. That’s what happened.”
Using his long range and reach advantage, O’Malley was quick to establish a quick lead jab that snapped Paiva’s head back several times in the opening round. O’Malley’s ability to keep Paiva at a distance helped him avoid so much of the Brazilian’s offense while consistently firing back with fast, straight punches.
Paiva tried to stick in the pocket to negate the size and reach that O’Malley had over him but he just couldn’t find a home for his strikes as he got stuck playing defense too often during the fight.
Once O’Malley had his timing down, he delivered the fight finishing combination that hurt Paiva and then put him down for good.
It was another impressive showing for O’Malley, who was actually dealing with a serious rib injury that prevented him from sparring or grappling for much of his training camp. In fact, O’Malley revealed after the fight that he nearly pulled out of UFC 269 before deciding he couldn’t let his fans down.
“I knew how many people were going to come out here and wanted to watch me fight,” O’Malley said. “I just couldn’t pull out.”
O’Malley has now rattled off three wins in a row and it appears he’ll be looking at top 15 ranked competition when he returns to action next year.