BANTAMWEIGHT FIGHT: THOMAS ALMEIDA VS. SEAN O’MALLEY — 11:08 PM ET
Sean O’Malley made a decisive statement in his knockout victory against Thomas Almeida.
After dropping his first bout last August, O’Malley (13-1) responded with a convincing victory against Almeida (22-5). O’Malley delivered punishment the entire night, yet Almeida continued to find ways to extend the fight.
The bout went five seconds too long. After O’Malley dropped Almeida in the third round with a left hook, the ref never called the fight, so O’Malley then delivered a knockout right to Almeida, whose back was on the mat and did not even attempt to block the shot. This stood in contrast to the opening round, when Almeida took a clean high kick right to his shin, sending him to the mat. O’Malley never went for the kill and, remarkably, Almeida jumped back to his feet and continued the fight.
O’Malley punished Almeida the entire bout, and rarely was he in any real trouble. His front kick was invaluable, and he had Almeida hurt on multiple occasions. For Almeida, who won his first 21 fights, which included four in the UFC, he has now dropped five of his past six.
While still unranked, the win reinserts O’Malley into top-15 discussion. This was a fight he needed, and he responded extremely well in a pressure-filled situation.
WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT FIGHT: GILLIAN ROBERTSON VS. MIRANDA MAVERICK — 10:36 PM ET
Miranda Maverick earned the biggest win of her career with a unanimous decision victory against Gillian Robertson.
The win should put Maverick (9-2) in UFC’s flyweight rankings by this Monday, and her performance was impressive. Stylistically, Robertson (9-4) posed a myriad of issues for Maverick on the ground. Maverick dealt with all kinds of adversity in the second round, so it was a surprise to learn that the judges ruled the round in Maverick’s favor. But Maverick found a way to overcome Robertson’s grappling in round three, dominating the final five minutes of the fight.
For the first time in her career, the 23-year-old Maverick will now be ranked among the top-15. While a considerable gap still exists between her and Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko, that can be said for every fighter in the division. Her progression will be worth watching, and there is a shot for her to enter the title picture by 2022.
LIGHTWEIGHT FIGHT: KHAMA WORTHY VS. JAMIE MULLARKEY — 10:21 PM ET
Jamie Mullarkey has his first win in the UFC.
Mullarkey (13-4) knocked out Khama Worthy just 46 seconds into the opening right. He set up Worthy (16-8) with a right hand, then dropped him with a vicious left.
Following two decision losses, this knockout win marks the biggest moment in Mullarkey’s career.
A battle of heavyweights is the prize fight at UFC 260, as Stipe Miocic defends the Heavyweight Championship against top-ranked contender Francis Ngannou.
This is a rematch from UFC 220 in January of 2018, when Miocic (20-3) wore Ngannou (15-3) down in a thoroughly impressive showing. Ngannou was less effective as the fight extended and exhausted by the fifth round, all while Miocic executed a strong game plan en route to a unanimous decision victory. Tonight marks Ngannou’s shot at redemption, a chance to show he has evolved as a fighter and finally claim the heavyweight title.
Due to Alexander Volkanovski testing positive for COVID-19, his Featherweight Championship title defense against Brian Ortega is no longer part of the 260 card. That places a higher emphasis on the bout pitting Tyron Woodley against Vicente Luque. Once one of the UFC’s premier talents, Woodley (19-6-1) has dropped his last three bouts, and all signs point to this being his farewell fight in UFC. In order to leave with a win, he will have to overcome a dangerous opponent in Luque (19-7-1), who has won his past two fights.
Another must-win situation presents itself on the card, as “Sugar” Sean O’Malley looks to keep himself relevant in the bantamweight division. After losing his undefeated streak last August, O’Malley (12-1) needs a victory against Thomas Almeida to stay relevant in the division. Almeida (22-4) has dropped three in a row and four of his last five, so this is a bout that O’Malley cannot afford to drop.
Also on the card is Gillian Robertson in a flyweight bout against Miranda Maverick. Both women possess the skill to become stars in the division, further raising the stakes in this encounter. It is a true clash of styles, as Robertson (9-5) will use her jiu-jitsu against Maverick (8-2), who is an elite striker. And the card opener is Khama Worthy against Jamie Mullarkey in a lightweight bout. Worthy (16-7) is coming off a loss, but he had won his prior seven fights. Mullarkey (12-4) is coming off back-to-back defeats and desperately needs this win.
UFC 260 is a solid-but-not-spectacular card, with all eyes on the heavyweights.