UFC 264: Massive underdog Kris Moutinho nearly goes the distance vs. Sean O'Malley

·2-min read

UFC bantamweight Sean O'Malley is a striking artist and one of the promotion's rising stars. Kris Moutinho is a UFC newcomer who was 9-5 in Rhode Island's CES MMA.

Typically, people with those backgrounds don't meet on the main card of one of the UFC's biggest events, for good reason. However, due to a late pull-out by Louis Smolka, the UFC turned to Moutinho to face O'Malley on 11 days notice in his promotional debut. 

BetMGM had O'Malley as the overwhelming favorite at -1000.

The bout opened the main card of UFC 264 and, as expected, O'Malley inflicted pain upon Moutinho from the start. And yet, Moutinho hung in there until the very end, earning plenty of fans at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena in the process.

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Per UFC Stats, Moutinho weathered 230 significant strikes from O'Malley (landing 70 of his own) across three rounds and survived some dangerous moments, up until referee Herb Dean called the fight a TKO with 27 second remaining. At that point, Moutinho's face was barely recognizable. But he still wanted to fight.

More than anyone else, that left O'Malley impressed.

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"Kris is a tough motherf***er," O'Malley said to Joe Rogan. "He took this fight on 11 days notice, when a lot of people in the UFC wouldn't take it. Kris is a bad motherf***er."

The win improved O'Malley's record to 14-1, and he called out Cody Garbrandt, Petr Yan, Dominick Cruz and Rob Font as potential next opponents. Any of those would represent the biggest fight of his career, with a potential shot at the bantamweight crown possible if he comes out on top. 

Meanwhile, Moutinho fell to 9-6, but will surely get some more work in the future.

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