At an event that included title fights in the main and co-main events, much of the discussion afterward has been about the scoring in another one of the main card’s most anticipated bouts.
“Sugar” silenced a number of his doubters by proving that he belongs in the top tier of the UFC’s bantamweight division with his performance, but when the fight was initially booked it prompted a few questions about the promotion’s matchmaking strategy.
Speaking at the UFC 280 post-fight press conference, the UFC’s president dismissed those that previously criticized the matchup.
“Yeah, well, we discussed this going into this fight,” White said. “Lots of people were like, ‘Why are you giving him this fight? It’s too soon. He shouldn’t be taking this fight.’ Sean Shelby was right.’”
White Sees A Case For Both Fighters
O’Malley entered UFC 280 as the #12-ranked bantamweight contender, while the former champion Yan was ranked as the division’s #1 fighter outside of champion Aljamain Sterling.
Both men are known for their standup skills, but considering how dominant Yan has looked on the feet against most of his opponents it was a surprise to see how well O’Malley handled striking with him. Yan ended up having to secure several takedowns and establish top control to try and win rounds, but his efforts apparently weren’t enough to sway two of the judges his way.
White has seen plenty of controversial results and narrow decisions in his time with the UFC, and although he felt either man could have won the UFC president did express some surprise at the way the judges handled things.
“It was one of those razor-thin close fights. I could see people saying Yan won the fight. I could see people saying O’Malley won the fight. What’s weird is it wasn’t the way I thought it was with the judges’ scorecards. I thought depending on who you gave the first round to determined who won the fight. But that was not the case, apparently.”
After O’Malley narrowly defeated Yan, Aljamain Sterling made the second defense of his bantamweight title win a TKO win over an injured T.J. Dillashaw. In the UFC 280 main event, Islam Makhachev submitted Charles Oliveira in the second round to become the promotion’s lightweight champion.
What do you make of White’s thoughts on the scoring of the O’Malley/Yan bout at UFC 280?