Grappling cred! Watch Sean O’Malley submit Takanori Gomi in BJJ battle


Much has been made of Aljamain Sterling’s grappling advantage over Sean O’Malley coming into their UFC 292 title fight in Boston. Even O’Malley has admitted that this is a classic striker vs. grappler matchup, and “Sugar” is definitely the striker.

O’Malley entered the UFC off a first round knockout in Dana White’s Contender Series, and at one point had a five fight KO streak with the promotion. A split decision win over Petr Yan earned him a shot at the bantamweight title, and now he’ll have to prove he’s a well rounded athlete to get past “The Funkmaster.”

There’s already some evidence that Sean takes his grappling sessions very seriously. Back in 2019 he took part in a Quintet grappling competition against other MMA fighters. He tapped Japanese fighting legend Takanori Gomi with a guillotine choke just three minutes into their bout.

In the next round he lost to Hector Lombard via an ankle lock, and then earned a draw against former UFC lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

Not a bad performance for someone who is being sold coming into UFC 292 as having poor grappling skills. We suppose it’s more that they’re poor in comparison to Aljamain Sterling, who may not be tapping folks left and right but can use his dominance to achieve back control and take rounds.

O’Malley’s best chance of leaving Boston with the title is to knock Aljamain out. But he’ll need some of these grappling skills on display at Quintet to survive the storm whenever “Funkmaster” manages to take things to the ground. Bookies have their doubts “Sugar” can do it. He’s a +210 dog to Sterling’s -275 favorite status.

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