Sean O’Malley Reveals Potential Dates for Dvalishvili Fight

“I’m ready for whatever comes”

Sean O’Malley hopes to learn the date of his next title defense by the end of June. After decisively defeating Marlon “Chito” Vera at UFC 299, the reigning bantamweight champion quickly focused on future opponents. Initially, he proposed a showdown with featherweight champion Ilia Topuria. Topuria’s recent knockout victory over Alexander Volkanovski seemed like a good opportunity for O’Malley to test himself at 145 pounds. However, the idea was not well-received by the UFC or fans, leading O’Malley to shift his attention back to Merab Dvalishvili, the number one contender at 135 pounds.

Waiting on UFC Confirmation

O’Malley is now waiting for the UFC to officially book the fight and give him a date.

“It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen this year,” O’Malley told MMA Fighting. “I don’t have a date for you guys, unfortunately. UFC told me at the end of the month, they’ll have a date for me. I’m guessing, I’m hoping for the Sphere still. I’ve been pushing for that for a while but if not the Sphere, December in Vegas. Either one, I do think it will be in Vegas. It’s one of those two dates.”

UFC 306 is scheduled for September 14 at the new Sphere arena in Las Vegas, a venue primarily designed for concerts and films but now set to host one of UFC’s most expensive productions. UFC CEO Dana White aims to create a memorable live sporting event there. Alternatively, the year-end UFC card typically takes place in mid-December, also in Las Vegas.


The Challenge of Merab Dvalishvili

Merab Dvalishvili is riding a remarkable 10-fight win streak, with notable victories over former champions Henry Cejudo and Petr Yan. O’Malley acknowledges the threat posed by Dvalishvili’s dominant wrestling and relentless conditioning.

“He’s very dangerous. He’s got a good gas tank. He’s hard to finish. That’s a very dangerous combination,” O’Malley said.

Despite preferring to fight in September, O’Malley is prepared to adapt if the UFC schedules the bout for December.

“Of course, I’d rather fight September [rather] than December,” O’Malley explained. “But whatever UFC says, I’m ready to go.”

Preparation Already Underway

O’Malley remains diligent in his training, even without a set fight date.

“We’ve been training specifically for Merab since the Chito fight,” he revealed. “That’s next and I’m training hard right now, prepared for whatever. We’re 14 weeks out from the Sphere so I’m not training, not full camp but if that’s the date, I’ll get right into camp. But I won’t know until the end of June.”

While O’Malley is confident he can defeat Dvalishvili, he understands the unique challenge posed by the Georgian fighter.

“He’s up there. He’s definitely up there,” O’Malley said when ranking Dvalishvili among his opponents. “I think Aljo [Aljamain Sterling] was the toughest to fight in the division for me. But 100 percent, Merab is up there  .”

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