UFC 280 continues to take shape and if it’s able to hold together it could end up being the most stacked card of 2022.
The UFC announced Wednesday a bantamweight bout between former champion Petr Yan and rising star “Suga” Sean O’Malley has been added to the Oct. 22 card scheduled to take place at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Yan (16-3) will be looking to rebound from a decision loss to Aljamain Sterling when he lost his title at April’s UFC 273. Yan competed that night without the help of his usual cornermen who were unavailable due to visa issues.
O’Malley (15-1, one no-contest) is coming off an anticlimactic no-contest result at UFC 276 earlier this month after an inadvertent eye poke resulted in his opponent, Pedro Munhoz, being unable to continue.
The pair have gone back and forth with trash talk on social media, so this serves as a grudge match in addition to it being a tilt between ranked 135-pounders. Yan is the No. 1 bantamweight contender and the No. 13-ranked pound-for-pound fighter on the UFC roster, while O’Malley is ranked 13th in the division.
"I'm getting the fight that I wanted and the fight that the people want. In my eyes, Petr is the No. 1 contender right now. He's pretty much 1-1 against (Sterling)," O'Malley told ESPN. "He could be considered the champion. … Going in there and stepping up against a guy like Petr is exciting, it's motivating and it's the biggest fight in the bantamweight division right now."
The bantamweight belt will be on the line at UFC 280 with Sterling set to defend against T.J. Dillashaw, according to a report from ESPN, the UFC’s broadcast partner.
The lightweight division will also be in the spotlight at the event.
Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev are set to fight for the vacant lightweight title in the main event, the organization had previously announced.
Oliveira is riding an 11-fight winning streak and coming off a submission victory over Justin Gaethje, however Oliveira had missed weight prior to his title defence and was stripped of the belt. Makhachev is on a 10-fight winning streak of his own and opened as a high as a -300 favourite to defeat Oliveira.
The winner of that title bout could potentially end up facing the winner of this doozy which has also been added to UFC 280…
Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Dariush (21-4-1) has won seven in a row but hasn’t competed since a dominant decision win over Tony Ferguson in May of 2021. Dariush had been scheduled to fight Makhachev in February but an ankle injury has kept him sidelined.
Meanwhile, Gamrot (21-1, one no-contest), is coming off a thrilling five-round win over Arman Tsarukyan in June that earned a Fight of the Night bonus and should receive Fight of the Year consideration. Dariush is ranked No. 6 and Gamrot No. 9 at 155 pounds.
Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Lemos
It turns out Rodriguez (16-1-2) will require at least one more quality win before earning a title shot. The talented strawweight has been paired up with Amanda Lemos, according to Raphael Marinho of Brazil’s Combate, with the winner potentially in line to fight for the belt which is currently held by Carla Esparza.
Rodriguez has beaten Yan Xiaonan, Mackenzie Dern, Michelle Waterson and Amanda Ribas on her current streak. Lemos (12-2-1) has won six of her past seven and submitted Waterson earlier this month to earn her second career UFC Performance of the Night bonus.
A welterweight matchup between Belal Muhammad and Sean Brady, the No. 5 and No. 9 contenders at 170 pounds, respectively, had also been previously announced to take place at the event.