The always outspoken bantamweight nearly finished Almeida in the first round with a head kick followed by a devastating left hook but referee Mark Smith allowed the action to continue. Almost the same exact scenario played out in the third round with O’Malley sending Almeida to the ground with a brutal left hand but again the referee didn’t see enough to stop it.
So O’Malley jumped down with a huge right hand that blasted Almeida and that was finally the shot that made Smith wave off the fight with the end coming at 3:52 into the third round.
“I thought he was done,” O’Malley said about the near walk off finishes. “That dude’s legit. He’s a tough dude. I got to prove a lot of stupid people they were stupid. It was nice.”
O’Malley showed no fear engaging with Almeida as soon as the fight got started as he came out throwing a series of hard kicks while also using his long reach to keep the Brazilian at the end of his punches. O’Malley also connected with a slick spinning back kick that landed right in the midsection.
As he continued to mix up his strikes, O’Malley launched a nasty head kick that landed flush and he followed with a left hook that sent Almeida crashing to the canvas. O’Malley walked away momentarily thinking the fight was over but referee Mark Smith didn’t stop it and Almeida was able to get back to his feet a second later.
While that was a momentary lapse from O’Malley, he still managed to stay in control on the feet moving into the second round but Almeida wasn’t going away as he started targeted the lead leg with some thudding kicks. O’Malley was definitely connecting with the crisper combinations but Almeida kept moving forward while throwing more of those same kicks to the inside and outside of the leg.
O’Malley’s overall dominance had him up on the scorecards but that didn’t deter him from staying creative with his strikes as he tagged Almeida from the outside and then avoided anything heavy coming back in his direction.
With Almeida still trying to move forward, O’Malley unloaded with the counter left hand that sent him to the ground for the second time and the former Contender Series winner had to dish out one more punch to finally get the knockout victory.
While he may have lost a little luster following a loss in his last fight, O’Malley reminded the entire bantamweight division that he’s still gunning for the top of those rankings with a huge statement made at UFC 260.