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UFC 280 results: Sean O’Malley bloodies Petr Yan to win razor-close split decision in back-and-forth war

UFC 280: Yan v O’Malley Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Sean O’Malley lived up to the hype at UFC 280 after engaging in a back-and-forth war with Petr Yan before ultimately winning a razor-close split decision victory.

Both bantamweights landed bombs throughout the three round fight but it was O’Malley’s ability to sting Yan with strikes that appeared to wobble him numerous times along with a massive knee strike that opened a huge gash on the face that made the difference. Two judges gave the O’Malley the fight with 29-28 scores while Yan got the third 29-28 scorecard for the split decision.

Still that was enough for O’Malley to get the nod and the biggest win of his career by far.

“I didn’t know honestly [if I had won],” O’Malley said. “I thought it could have gone either way. Fighting the craziest f****** sport in the world. That’s what happens when you fight the No. 1 guy in the world. I was hurt more than I’ve ever been in a fight. I was definitely rocked.”

Dealing with a height and reach disadvantage, Yan was quick to close the distance on O’Malley while stalking him across the octagon. Yan was quick to establish his kicking game but O’Malley answered with a nasty straight right that tagged the Russian multiple times in the opening round.

O’Malley also managed to escape a takedown from Yan and then pepper him with punches back on the feet that continued to get prove he belonged in the cage with one of the best 135-pounders in the world.

At the start of the second round, O’Malley blasted Yan with a huge left hand that wobbled the former bantamweight champion and it appeared he might be looking for a finish. Out of nowhere, Yan countered with a devastating right hook of his own that led to a takedown as he put O’Malley on notice that the fight was far from over.

Yan was also starting to hammer away with body kicks with O’Malley answering back with his lead jab. The takedowns also continued coming from Yan as he kept finding a way to dump O’Malley on his back, which added even more control time on top.

Just when it looked like Yan was taking over, O’Malley said not so fast after he landed a hellacious punch followed by a knee that opened up a nasty gash on the head. Yan was leaking a massive amount of blood from over his eye but he continued putting the pressure on O’Malley and tagging the Contender Series veteran with short punches on the inside.

The wild exchanges continued until the final horn with both bantamweights leaving everything in the cage after 15 minutes. A case could have been made for Yan to win but ultimately it was O’Malley who got the split decision and now he moves one step closer to a title shot.

“I mean the people would like to see me be the bantamweight champion,” O’Malley said. “We’ll give the people what they want.”

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