Sean O’Malley and Kris Moutinho will both go home with an extra $75,000 after winning Fight of the Night at UFC 264, but Dana White actually believes their battle could have ended even sooner than it did.
Taking the fight against O’Malley on less than two weeks’ notice, Moutinho showed incredible toughness and durability as he took the best shots from the highly touted bantamweight prospect and just kept moving forward. Unfortunately by the third round, Moutinho had absorbed a mountain of punishment and after O’Malley connected with one particularly brutal combination, referee Herb Dean decided to stop the fight.
Moutinho seemed unhappy with the stoppage and appeared cognizant of his surroundings, standing on his feet after the final flurry of punches from O’Malley. But the UFC president argued afterward that the fight was clearly finished.
“I think it could have been stopped three minutes before that,” White said when speaking at the UFC 264 post-fight press conference. “He could have stopped in the second round. That fight could have and should have been stopped at any moment. I have no problem with that stoppage.”
When the fight ended, Moutinho was a bloody mess and that resulted in an immediate trip to the local medical facility for treatment.
“That could have been stopped a round earlier,” White said again. “That guy took some serious punishment. We sent him right to the hospital, no stopping, no talking, no nothing. Right to the hospital.”
According to the UFC stats, O’Malley dished out a jaw-dropping amount of offense over the course of the fight with Moutinho absorbing a whopping 230 significant strikes. Overall, he was landing with 72-percent accuracy, though he only earned a single knockdown in the opening round.
White certainly praised O’Malley for a job well done, especially considering the seemingly unbreakable opponent that was standing in front of him on Saturday night.
“I thought O’Malley [was impressive] taking on a zombie that wouldn’t stop coming forward at him, no matter how [many strikes he landed],” White said.
“We all know O’Malley hits like a truck. That kid has one-punch knockout power and he hit this kid with everything he had. Kicks, punches. He couldn’t stop him. I thought he held his composure really well.”