Given the biggest spotlight possible in the sport of MMA, UFC 264 is a huge moment for Sean O’Malley to do what he does best and light Las Vegas up. Featuring in the opening bout of the main card, headlined by the trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, this is another chance for O’Malley to bring the ‘suga show’ to as many people as possible.
After his massively disappointing loss to Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera, Sean O’Malley’s hype train seemed to die down a bit. A rebound win against Thomas Almeida kicked things back into motion at UFC 260 in March. A stylish striking performance paired with a highlight reel finish reminded everyone of why O’Malley is must-watch TV. With a huge showcase fight on his hands as fans tune into the PPV card of UFC 264, this is his moment to steal the show in the way that everyone knows he can.
Whilst it makes perfect sense to have O’Malley feature on this card in this spot, no one could have seen the fight itself coming. Paired with Louis ‘Da Last Samurai’ Smolka, the match up came to the surprise of just about everybody. Smolka started life in the UFC as a very exciting prospect way back in 2014. Going 5-1 in his first six UFC fights, Smolka shared a similar career trajectory to O’Malley’s last opponent Almeida. Once considered the future of his division, Smolka went on to lose four consecutive fights and be cut from the UFC.
After winning three back-to-back fights outside of the UFC, Smolka was re-signed to the promotion in 2018 and has built a 3-2 record in his second UFC stint. With a TKO win in his last fight against Jose Quinonez, Smolka brings experience to the octagon as a guy that has been through it all to get to this moment. That being said, make no mistake about it, this fight has been made with the idea of giving Sean O’Malley a platform to showcase himself in front of a big audience.
This was evident from when the fight was announced and that’s why it took fans so off guard after expecting another step forward for O’Malley after the UFC were so keen to get him in there with the division’s top 15. Though Smolka isn’t a guy that will wade forward in the way Almeida did, he is still likely to struggle against the highly creative striking of O’Malley.
With all of that in mind, MMA would be a boring sport if it was predictable. This is the biggest fight and opportunity of Louis Smolka and if O’Malley gets too carried away living in his own spotlight, ‘Da Last Samurai’ could kick UFC 264 off with a huge upset. One thing is for sure, if O’Malley feels comfortable in there, he will be trying his hardest to add another highlight reel walk-off KO to his resume.