The “Sugar” show will be making its way to the Octagon in the very near future.
Sean O'Malley brought Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White to his feet with a stirring performance against Alfred Khashakyan, as he earned his fifth career first-round finish in the co-main event of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series 2. at the UFC Training Center on Tuesday night. The end came at the 4:14 mark of the opening period courtesy of an O’Malley right hand.
After absorbing some ground-and-pound from his back, O’Malley (7-0) returned to his feet to put Khashakyan (8-4) on his rear with a right to the jaw during an exchange. From there, he didn’t let up. With his hands held low, “Sugar” tagged his opponent with left and right hands, opening a cut near Kashakyan’s right eye. With Kashakyan still reeling from the initial knockdown, O’Malley slipped a punch and dropped his adversary with another clean right hand to the jaw. The 22-year-old MMA Lab product walked away as soon as the blow connected for an emphatic walk-off knockout.
Despite some stiff competition elsewhere on the card, the victory earned O’Malley the lone UFC contract from the event.
“I liked a lot of guys…but I’m looking for somebody who has that thing,” White said. “Sean O’Malley has that thing.”
Elsewhere, it took a few illegal blows to wake up Dan Spohn in the evening’s official headliner.
On the verge of defeat minutes earlier, Spohn (16-5) rallied for a first-round submission victory over Angel DeAnda (18-6) in a light heavyweight affair. The end came at the 3:10 mark of the period when DeAnda was forced to tap to an arm-triangle choke from “The Ultimate Fighter 19” veteran.
DeAnda appeared to be on his way to victory when he stunned Spohn with a flurry of power punches in the early going. The Tachi Palace Fights veteran followed his foe to the mat, but landed about three illegal hammerfists to the back of the head in his pursuit of the finish. As a result, Spohn was granted a respite and DeAnda was deducted a point.
Not long after the bout resumed, Spohn rocked his opponent with a combination near the fence. DeAnda crumbled to the floor, and Spohn hammered away with vicious ground-and-pound. With DeAnda hanging on for dear life, “Dragon” transitioned to the fight-ending maneuver and forced the tapout.
Thanh Le made a statement against Lazar Stojadinovic, winning via spectacular knockout in a featherweight contest. A head kick and follow-up hammerfists from “The Ultimate Fighter 22” cast member brought a halt to the proceedings 1:35 into round two.
Le (7-1) utilized his considerable reach advantage throughout his matchup with Stojadinovic (12-6). While he didn’t land with great volume in the opening frame, Le put his foe on the defensive with several wicked body kicks. Stojadinovic upped his aggression in round two, as he attempted to punch his way into range. However, a perfectly placed kick from Le went through Stojadinovic’s guard and wrapped around his head, dropping to American Top Team member to his knees. Le then shoved his man to the canvas and landed several follow-up hammerfists before referee John McCarthy could intervene.
It wasn’t spectacular, but Sidney Outlaw’s grappling-based approach carried him to a three-round verdict over Michael Cora in a welterweight tilt. Two judges scored the contest 29-27 while a third had it 29-28, all in favor of Outlaw (8-3).
Cora simply could not remain upright long enough to implement his game plan against the Dante Rivera BJJ product. Outlaw took his foe down in every frame and nearly finished the fight with rear-naked choke attempts in rounds one and two. Cora (4-2) had his opportunity in round three, when he sprawled on a takedown from his fatigued foe and assumed top position in the waning moments. However, he was unable to offer enough ground-and-pound to earn the necessary stoppage.
In the evening’s opening bout, Casey Kenney garnered a unanimous decision triumph over C.J. Hamilton at flyweight. All three cageside judges scored the contest 30-27 in favor of Kenney (7-0-1). Hamilton (11-5) saw a seven-fight winning streak come to an end.
Kenney set a furious pace in the opening stanza, pressuring his opponent and attacking with head kicks, left hands and knees and elbows in the clinch. The action slowed somewhat after that, but the Tucson, Ariz., native landed takedowns and took Hamilton’s back in both the second and third stanzas to seal the triumph. Hamilton landed effectively in spurts throughout, but it wasn’t enough to sway the scorecards.