Petr Yan and Sean O’Malley were face-to-face for a few seconds before ‘No Mercy’ decided to get ‘Sugar’ out of his face with a shove.
Once the pre-fight press conference for UFC 280 on Thursday was over, the featured fighters on the pay-per-view portion of the event were brought on stage for their first face-offs. UFC play-by-play announcer Jon Anik stood in the middle, and Yan and O’Malley stood within inches of each other.
O’Malley towered over Yan, looking down on him for a few seconds. That was more than enough time for the former UFC bantamweight champion, who shoved O’Malley. Security (and Anik) intervened, and both men flexed in front of the crowd before leaving the stage.
You can watch the shove below, courtesy of the UFC:
In his most recent appearance, Yan failed to unify titles against reigning champion Aljamain Sterling, falling short to the Serra-Longo talent by split decision in their rematch at UFC 273 this past April. Prior to that, the Russian defeated Cory Sandhagen by unanimous decision to claim the interim bantamweight championship at UFC 267 last October.
O’Malley was previously in action at UFC 276, where his fight with Pedro Munhoz was ruled a No Contest after an accidental eye poke rendered the Brazilian unable to continue. The Contender Series alum was on a three-fight win streak, knocking out Thomas Almeida, Kris Moutinho and Raulian Paiva.
The much-anticipated fight between Yan and O’Malley serves as a No. 1 contender in the bantamweight division. Sterling defends for the second time, this time against T.J. Dillashaw in the co-main event of UFC 280 on Saturday.