BREAKING: Sean O’Malley Has a New Opponent for UFC 264 After Louis Smolka Fight Cancelation

Published 06/30/2021, 10:45 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 14: Sean O’Malley poses on the scale during the UFC 252 weigh-in at UFC APEX on August 14, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC bantamweight Sean O’Malley finally has a dance partner for UFC 264 after his original opponent dropped out. Louis Smolka was removed from the fight after suffering a staph infection and several bantamweights stepped up wanting to face O’Malley. Ricky Simon, Merab Dvalishvili, and Ray Borg were just some fighters who put their hat in the ring to take on O’Malley.

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However, the assignment has been given to CES veteran Kris Moutinho who will make his UFC debut at UFC 264. He’s on a two-fight win streak with two straight finishes and comes in with an overall record of 9-4. The move to call up Moutinho to fight surprised some fans, especially since they were several other options available.

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Kris Moutinho isn’t a name that fans are familiar with, however, he’s definitely going to bring the fight to O’Malley. The consensus is that O’Malley has received a tune-up fight so he can make a quick turnaround. Not to mention, the UFC is trying to build him up after his loss to ‘Chito’ Vera, two fights ago.

Sean O’Malley: The man of the hour

‘Sugar’ Sean was arguably the most coveted entity in MMA when the news broke that he needed a new opponent. Fighters came out of the woodwork to secure a fight with him, given his name value currently. Very few fighters have been able to generate such a buzz despite not have top ranking next to their name.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 06: Sean O’Malley reacts after his knockout victory over Eddie Wineland in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 250 event at UFC APEX on June 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

However, fans and fellow fighters have recognized that he’s got the entire UFC machine behind him going forward. Not to mention, Sean O’Malley is adept at self-promotion and has a created a loyal fanbase by himself. As long as he continues to produce highlight reel KOs, his legend will continue to grow in the sport.

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It’s unclear how much his stock will rise with a win over Kris Moutinho. Having O’Malley take on a UFC debutant is not likely to produce much interest amongst the hardcore fan base. But a picturesque finish could be what he needs to keep the wheels turning going forward.

Watch this story: 5 Interesting Facts You Need to Know About Jairzinho Rozenstruik

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Darryl Pinto

1773 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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