O’Malley vs. Almeida took place March 27 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The bantamweight main card bout aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view. Catch more video highlights below.
For more on Sean O’Malley vs. Thomas Almeida, check out the live blog from MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew below.
O’Malley comes out in southpaw with Almeida in orthodox and O’Malley immediately starts kicking and backing Almeida up. Almeida stays patient and moves away and now O’Malley is starting to slow down and find an opening.
Lots of feints from O’Malley, including some real weird head movement feints where he looks away. It’s all adding up to Almeida looking very hesitant. O’Malley lands a spinning back kick that might have hurt Almeida but he’s doing a good job of hiding it if so.
O’Malley moving a ton and now Almeida comes in with a combo that lands on the chin but O’Malley eats it well. At range, O’Malley is now comfortable with the distance and he’s kicking a lot.
O’Malley clips Almeida! It was a head kick that lands flush and O’Malley follows up with another shot and then walks it off. But Almeida isn’t out! Almeida is still in this fight and O’Malley has to come back in but Almeida is clearing his head and blocking well.
O’Malley lands a clean pull counter but Almeida eats it and unbelievably, Almeida looks fine now. O’Malley throwing single shots now but most aren’t getting through. Almeida, for his part, isn’t throwing much but he’s keeping his eyes up and lands a few shots when O’Malley steps in. The round ends and O’Malley may come to regret trying to walk that one off.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8 O’Malley.
Looking at the replay, it’s shocking Almeida survived that kick. It was as flush as a head kick gets and he survived.
To star the second, Almeida is looking to pressure O’Malley but O’Malley is excellent on the counter. O’Malley is also landing the low kick consistently and that’s going to pay dividends. Almeida lands his own though that drops O’Malley and another from Almeida. This is shaping up to be a good damn fight.
O’Malley really fighting long now, with side kicks, trying to force Almeida to rush in where he can hit that pull counter he favors. Almeida not biting yet though. Almeida is reacting to feints more now though and that’s dangerous. O’Malley moving away, switching stances and mixing up his attacks. Almeida very traditional with his offense and working a high guard that is blocking a lot.
Almeida lands a good right hand while stepping in and he needs more of that. He can’t stay on the outside anymore. He’s not getting killed, but he’s losing the points battle.
O’Malley diligent about the distance though and Almeida can’t find a way in. Now O’Malley comes forward but Almeida lands a pair of strong low kicks and that gets O’Malley to back off. O’Malley goes for a leaping attack but slips and with short time, Almeida is standing over O’Malley and looking to land a big shot. He can’t find the way in though and the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 O’Malley, 20-17 O’Malley overall.
O’Malley is in excellent shape as he isn’t even breathing heavily in his corner. That’s impressive.
The third round starts much the same as the second, with Almeida trying to march O’Malley down but a low kick from O’Malley looks like it has jarred Almeida. Another one definitely hurt Almeida and he’s gonna play hell getting on the inside now. Moreover, O’Malley now looking content to just win this on points, sticking and moving on the outside.
As I say that, O’Malley throws a combination of kicks that don’t land much but does allow Almeida to land a right hand. Almeida keeps coming forward but he cannot corral O’Malley and eats a knee for his trouble.
O’Malley consistently leans his head back without protection and that’s going to be really bad for him one day, probably not today though. Almeida is getting picked apart now but he’s eating all this punishment admirably.
NEVERMIND. Almeida rushes in and eats a big counter left that hurts Almeida. Again, O’Malley tries to walk off but Almeida rolls back to the center of the cage and so O’Malley follows him down and lands a MONSTER right hand to the temple that stiffens Almeida. That’s all, folks.