With less than two weeks before UFC 264, bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley is in need of a new foe in short order or else he will miss out on being part of arguably the biggest card of the year.
Ariel Helwani reported on Tuesday that Louis Smolka has withdrawn from his pay-per-view main card opener vs. O’Malley, leaving UFC officials scrambling to find a suitable replacement on less than two weeks’ notice. Obviously if none is feasible then O’Malley will compete on another show.
O’Malley (13-1) bounced back from a TKO loss to Marlon Vera with a three-round demolition of Thomas Almeida at UFC 260 in March. ‘Sugar’ Sean has quickly developed a following with his exciting fight style and outsized personality, but has yet to really notch a marquee win at bantamweight.
Tim Elliott, Ricky Simon, and Merab Dvalishvili have all put themselves up as potential Smolka replacements. Elliott normally competes at flyweight, Simon is unranked at 135 but on a three-fight win streak, while Dvalishvili is in the top-10 and he even suggested keeping his scheduled fight with Marlon Moraes intact.
I’ll take that! My opponent was injured!— Tim Elliott (@TElliott125) June 29, 2021
If @SugaSeanMMA needs an opponent I am ready and I will still fight Marlon in September!— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) June 29, 2021
UFC 264 is headlined by a lightweight trilogy matchup between former two-division champion Conor McGregor and former interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirier.