In its recent edition of The Thrill and the Agony, the UFC took us backstage following the top three fights at UFC 280 this past October.
First up was Sean O’Malley vs. Petr Yan, the potential No. 1 contender in the bantamweight division that won ‘Fight of the Night’ honors after an all-action affair. In the end, ‘Sugar’ eked out a split decision over ‘No Mercy,’ which elicited a variety of reactions.
“Man that was a crazy fight,” said O’Malley’s head coach Tim Welch. ‘Sugar’ really had to show his heart and grit for that. He’s fighting the best guy in the world. Petr Yan’s an animal and we just conquered the test. And I’m sure the naysayers are really, really crying right now, specifically Henry Cejudo. I’m sure he’s really crying and really sad right now. But, like I said, props to both guys. Petr Yan’s a f—king Terminator and so is ‘Sugar,’ so we’re coming for the title.”
Reigning UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling bulldozed T.J. Dillashaw for a second-round TKO win. That was his second consecutive defense, and the ‘Funk Master’ has already shifted his focus to other challengers, including O’Malley.
In our headliner, Islam Makhachev claimed the vacant UFC lightweight championship with a second-round submission of Charles Oliveira. Both men shared a brief moment in the Octagon, where Makhachev and Oliveira hugged and showed respect after the fight.
Team Makhachev celebrated backstage, while Team Oliveira rallied around their fighter in an emotional moment that was punctuated by a speech from one of its head coaches, Jorge Patino.
“They took his belt, but we’re getting that belt back,” said Patino. “It’s our duty. We’re responsible for that. Everyone here has a piece of that belt. You and I, everybody. So, our team needs to work hard to get that belt back. Congrats to their team, they won the fight. We must understand the sport. But just accept it? Never! We’ll be back stronger, OK?”
The full episode of The Thrill and the Agony is available to watch on UFC Fight Pass.