Sean O’Malley blew a finish attempt in his first-round against Thomas Almeida on the UFC 260 main card, but went on to score the knockout anyway in the third act. O’Malley was pretty much in control the entire time, commanding the Octagon and sniping his adversary from afar. He hurt Almeida badly in the first round with a head kick, but walked away instead of finishing the fight. Almeida stood up, but the finish would be eventual as Sean sniffed out the knockout in the third round. This was quite a strong performance for O’Malley, and a great way to bounce back from a loss (even if he does believe he’s still undefeated).
O’Malley came out long like he always does, throwing creative strikes and making Almeida hesitate. Almeida responded with low kicks and trying to come over the top with hooks. O’Malley was attacking the body with kicks while still staying out of Almeida’s striking range. Then, a gorgeous head kick wobbled Almeida, and then he went down after a left hand. O’Malley walked off but the fight wasn’t over. Almeida stood up and started fighting back. O’Malley kept trowing head kicks, but Almeida was doing a sound job of blocking them.
O’Malley continued to fight at range heading into the second round. He was using his kicks as his weapon of choice. Almeida started to retaliate with a couple of low leg kicks, but O’Malley started to attack his leg in response. O’Malley was really commanding the cage, giving Almeida very few opportunities to ge ton the inside to land punches. Almeida landed a couple more leg kicks, and spent the last few seconds of the round standing over O’Malley.
The bantamweights exchanged hard low kicks to start the final round, with O’Malley seeming to land the harder strike. O’Malley stayed in control, doing the better job of managing the distance, which in turn managed the damage. Almeida was trying, but O’Malley was dialed in. He was sniping Almeida as he tried to close the distance. A short left hand hurt Almeida, sending him to his back, and then O’Malley uncorked a single ground strike that was probably not needed.