It’s hard to think of an MMA fighter more exciting than “The Sugar Show” Sean O’Malley.
Coming off a title-winning tilt with Aljamain Sterling in UFC 292, O’Malley has his pick of opponents in his first belt defense. Who will be the next (un)lucky fighter to step in the ring with the new UFC bantamweight champion?
Below, we’ve broken down some of the most likely contenders and picked the most exciting fight we’d love to see.
We’ll also show you where and how to bet on the UFC champion O’Malley at the top UFC betting site, Bovada, in case you want to make his next bout even more exciting.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Best Sean O’Malley Betting Sites
- Bovada: Best overall
- MyBookie: Exciting UFC props
- BetOnline: Top futures betting site
- BUSR: $2,500 sign-up bonus
- SportsBetting.ag: Most betting markets
- BetAnySports: Top parlay betting site
- Everygame: Best for live betting
- BetUS: Best reputation
- Lucky99: Widest variety of lines
- XBet: Unlimited referral bonuses
Before we learn more about the features that make these the best betting sites to bet on Sean O’Malley’s next fight, let’s take a look at the potential opponents he could face.
Potential Opponents for Sean O’Malley’s Next Fight
It’s yet to be determined who Sean O’Malley will be fighting in his first title defense, but we can rattle off a few names that are probably on the shortlist.
This contenders list is somewhat unique in that many of the possibilities are clouded by personal relationships. One of the main contenders, Merab Dvalishvili, is good friends with Aljamain Sterling and is willing to step aside to give Sterling another shot at O’Malley.
Still, even if neither of those fighters graces us with their presence against O’Malley in the Octagon, there’s no shortage of challengers for the UFC bantamweight champion.
Sean O’Malley vs. Merab Dvalishvili
As mentioned above, this fight makes a ton of sense — if both fighters agree to it.
They have different reasons for being hesitant. Dvalishvili wants his buddy Sterling — whom he steadfastly refused to challenge when Sterling held the strap — to have another shot at greatness.
O’Malley, on the other hand, may want to avoid Dvalishvili altogether. There’s probably no other fighter currently at 135 pounds who poses a bigger risk to O’Malley’s crown (or his burgeoning stardom) than “The Machine.”
While O’Malley is a talented wrestler, Dvalishvili is in a league of his own. The Georgian already holds the bantamweight record for most successful takedowns and has a clear shot at Georges St-Pierre’s all-time record. If he gets his hands on you, you’re going to the mat.
O’Malley is much more comfortable on his feet, and if history has taught us anything, it’s that strikers usually don’t fare too well when faced with elite grapplers. O’Malley has the stuff to change that history, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he prefers not to take the chance.
Sean O’Malley vs. Cory Sandhagen
Another fighter who wouldn’t be surprised if O’Malley ducked Dvalishvili is Cory Sandhagen.
After O’Malley expressed a desire for a rematch with Marlon “Chito” Vera, Sandhagen called the champ “weak sauce” and said he didn’t understand why modern fighters always “want to fight the worst guy for the most money.”
Sandhagen certainly isn’t the worst guy in the bantamweight division, although he might not pose the same threat as Dvalishvili.
One thing working in Sandhagen’s favor is the fact that UFC President Dana White loves guys with a “fight anyone, anywhere, at any time” mentality.
White has been frustrated by the love between Sterling and Dvalishvili in the past, and he might choose to punish the Georgian by passing him over for Sandhagen, who’s truly one of “his guys.”
This would be an exciting matchup. On paper, Sandhagen would seem to pose quite the threat to O’Malley — but fights aren’t held on paper.
In reality, Sandhagen has had his fair share of shots at the big time, including a title shot at UFC 267. He’s come up short every time, with high-profile losses to Sterling, T.J. Dillashaw, and Petr Yan.
He’s certainly been impressive of late, though, demolishing Rob Font in early August.
It would be hard to disagree that he deserves another shot at the belt — but if he comes up short again, it might be the last shot he ever gets.
Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera
Marlon “Chito” Vera is a big name in the bantamweight division, and he’s arguably the biggest fan favorite in the weight class. Crowds love his relentless, go-for-broke style, and he and O’Malley could possibly put on a real barn-burner.
Unfortunately, though, his resume isn’t as impressive as his highlight reel. He lost via split decision to Sandhagen in March, and while he beat Pedro Munhoz in August, most observers felt like the wrong fighter had his hand raised at the end of that one.
Still, Vera can make one claim that no other pro fighters can: he’s beaten O’Malley in the Octagon.
The two tussled in 2020, with Vera emerging the TKO victor after injuring O’Malley’s leg in the first round. O’Malley wants to avenge that loss, a fact that (along with Chito’s enduring popularity) could land the Ecuadorian his first title shot.
O’Malley has conceded that, to truly redeem himself, he must knock Chito out — a fact that could put him at a dangerous disadvantage in their bout.
Another factor in Vera’s favor is that O’Malley has been promised PPV points in his next bout. That means he needs to face the biggest name possible — and right now, that name is Chito Vera.
Sean O’Malley vs. Aljamain Sterling
The possibility of an immediate rematch with Sterling seems to be drawing curiously little heat.
Most champs who had strung together nine straight victories would be a shoo-in for an automatic rematch, but few people (outside of maybe Merab Dvalishvili) seem to be clamoring for it.
It will be interesting to see how Sterling responds to his first loss in six years.
He cleaned out most of the more established names in the division, beating the likes of Dillashaw, Yan, and Henry Cejudo as champ. This cleared the way for the next group of contenders — including O’Malley.
The Sugar Show hasn’t really broached the possibility of a rematch, either, so it will be interesting to see who White pits Sterling against next. He’s beaten Yan twice, won’t fight Dvalishvili, and has nothing to prove by fighting the likes of Dominick Cruz or Rob Font.
Sterling might end up fighting Vera first, with the winner getting the next shot at O’Malley. Or he may just need to sit out a while and wait for things to shake out at the top; he might be in line for O’Malley’s second defense without having to fight anyone in the interim.
At 34, though, Sterling’s championship window might be closing, so he can’t wait around too long to get another title shot.
Sean O’Malley vs. Petr Yan
The former champ would seem an odd choice for a title shot, seeing as how he’s lost four of his last five fights (to O’Malley, Dvalishvili, and Sterling twice).
However, he’s also beaten Sandhagen in that time, and many people feel that he was the rightful winner of the O’Malley fight. The first loss to Sterling was somewhat controversial as well, as two judges had him ahead in the fourth round before he was disqualified for an illegal knee.
Yan may be another fighter who could benefit from the Dvalishvili-Sterling bromance. If Dvalishvili squanders his shot, and White feels that Sandhagen and Vera aren’t quite ready, then Yan is a logical possibility.
Regardless, it’s interesting that O’Malley is intent on avenging his one loss — against the mid-tier Vera — but seems to be in no hurry to prove his controversial wins were no fluke.
As with Dvalishvili, he might not want any part of Yan — and this fight would represent a ton of risk with very little reward.
We wouldn’t expect this one to happen unless Yan was a last-minute injury replacement, but it would probably be a hell of a fight anyway.
Sean O’Malley vs. Henry Cejudo
This is another fight that almost certainly won’t happen — but this is the UFC, where the word “never” has no meaning.
Cejudo is still one of the most popular bantamweights in the world despite being retired for three years, and he acquitted himself well in his bout with Sterling.
Any fighter with a fanbase has a realistic shot at a title, so Cejudo could well hear his name called to fight O’Malley.
As a former Olympic gold medal wrestler, Cejudo could pose as many problems for O’Malley as Dvalishvili, and losing to a 36-year-old, formerly-retired fighter would certainly put a dent in the brand that O’Malley cherishes so much.
This one doesn’t make much sense from a fight perspective, but White often makes decisions with his pocketbook — and O’Malley-Cejudo might sell more tickets than any other fight on this list.
Why is Sean O’Malley So Popular?
It’s no mystery why “The Sugar Show” has quickly risen to become one of the most popular fighters in all of mixed martial arts — he simply followed a familiar pattern that has worked for so many fighters before him, from Muhammad Ali to Conor McGregor.
Namely, he’s supremely cocky and talks a lot of trash — but backs it up.
It all starts with his flashy appearance. There’s no telling how his hair will look before any given fight — pink? Cornrows? Pink cornrows?
Everything is in play. It may not seem like much, but you can only see so many shaved heads and cauliflower ears before the other fighters start blending together.
In the Octagon, he’s not afraid to taunt his opponents, and he’s also willing to play to the crowd at a moment’s notice. He feeds off their energy — and they’re more than happy to give it to him.
Perhaps the biggest thing you can say about his style is that he’s never boring. He swings for the fences and often finishes fights spectacularly. He’s not someone who will drag you to the mat and wear you down for five rounds at a time.
While his skills might not get as much respect as some top-notch grapplers, his striking is both creative and devastating. You never know exactly how he’ll finish a fight; he’s reminiscent of Jon Jones in that regard.
And let’s face it — he appeals to a huge swath of the UFC’s core demographic. He’s a stoner, covered in tattoos, and spends far too much time playing video games on Twitch; he’s basically the perfect avatar of a UFC fan.
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Sean O’Malley’s Fighting Strategy
While he can hold his own as a wrestler, O’Malley’s strategy every time he enters the Octagon is clear: knock the other dude out.
At 5’11” with a 72-inch reach, he’s got excellent size for a bantamweight and often uses his superior reach to keep opponents at bay (and punish them while they’re there).
He’s also extremely athletic, once harboring dreams of playing in the NFL, and that athleticism allows him to deliver strikes from angles other fighters wouldn’t even dream of.
Beyond that, he’s incredibly fast, able to dart in and out of harm’s way before his opponent can mount a counterattack. He boasts terrific balance as well, which comes in handy when you’re throwing unorthodox kicks or fending off the takedowns that will inevitably come your way.
He likes to keep opponents on their toes, often employing feints to set up strikes. All those fakes and misdirections eventually take their toll, and when a fighter thinks they’ve got nothing to worry about…O’Malley slips a real uppercut in for good measure.
Despite his stoner visage, O’Malley is an excellent tactician and plays constant mind games with his opponents.
While every fighter hates to lose, what they truly despise is being embarrassed — and there’s nothing more embarrassing than being finished by a guy who told you exactly how he was going to do it.
Sean O’Malley Record: Tale of the Tape
- Record: 17-1-1 (12 KOs)
- Age: 28
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 135 pounds
- Reach: 72”
- Team: MMA Lab (Phoenix, AZ)
- Current odds: Check here
How to Beat Sean O’Malley
Unless you’re going to kick him so hard that he suffers drop foot, which is what Chito Vera did, there isn’t an established blueprint to beat O’Malley in the Octagon. No one else has done it.
Still, it’s not hard to see how an elite fighter would target O’Malley. As an elite striker with middling grappling abilities (he’s only a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu), taking him to the ground and finishing the fight there seems to be the best strategy.
The problem with that is how to get him there.
O’Malley is strong, slippery, and smart, which is why he’s put together such an impressive career despite having a glaring Achilles heel. Virtually every fighter he’s faced (save Vera) has had the same idea, and none have managed to pull it off so far.
To be fair, he hasn’t yet faced a truly elite wrestler like Dvalishvili or Cejudo, and a relentless grappler like that may be able to overwhelm him in short order.
It’s an outcome we may actually bet on, which is why he seems content to avoid fighters like Dvalishvili.
His recent remarks targeting Vera would seem to support this; Chito is a man who will happily stand and spar with O’Malley, giving the champ (and the fans) exactly what they want.
Until someone beats O’Malley in the Octagon, we can’t say for sure what the blueprint actually is. However, a dogged determination and some wicked takedown skills may just be what the doctor ordered.
How to Bet On Sean O’Malley Fights
Despite O’Malley’s reputation as a finisher, it’s not always easy to pinpoint his method of victory in advance — much less set a good time on the over/under.
While O’Malley finishes fights about twice as often as he goes the distance, there are still enough decisions on his resume to make betting on KOs and unders a dicey proposition.
Unlike many heavy strikers, O’Malley has excellent cardio and no problems going the distance. As a result, you’ll have to take his opponent into consideration before putting your money down.
Understand, though, that the public will be heavily betting on him to finish his fights early. That means the price on a decision finish may be good enough to force you to take a long look at those odds.
The public loves Suga Sean, so he’s likely to be a heavy betting favorite in every fight he enters until he finally loses (or gets knocked out).
If he ends up fighting a grappler like Dvalishvili or Cejudo, he might be at a heavy disadvantage — and the odds on them might be too juicy to ignore.
For more general UFC betting tips, check out our guide on how to bet on UFC fights.
Best Betting Sites for Sean O’Malley Fights
O’Malley’s next opponent hasn’t been locked in yet, and we have no idea for sure when he’ll be fighting next. As a result, you’re not likely to find odds on his next fight just yet.
Regardless of when his next outing in the octagon is announced, these are the best sites for betting on Sean O’Malley Fights. Here, you’ll get the best odds on everyone’s favorite bantamweight.
1. Bovada – Best Overall Betting Site for Sean O’Malley Fights
You usually won’t find UFC odds at Bovada until a month out (except for superfights like the upcoming Jon Jones-Stipe Miocic tilt).
Once those lines drop, though, you should be there to check them out.
As detailed in our Bovada review, they offer some of the best sports betting odds online. Aside from that, you can look forward to a ton of betting markets on each fight — usually several dozen for PPV main events.
Not only that, but you can get a 50% match up to $250 on your first deposit (or a 75% match up to $750 if you deposit with Bitcoin and enter code BTCSWB750).
A 5x wagering requirement applies.
2. MyBookie – Most Exciting Prop Betting Site for Sean O’Malley Fights
MyBookie tends to limit itself to only the next upcoming UFC card, but it’s still one of the best MMA betting sites on the internet.
Their props are second-to-none, and if you’re betting more than just straight moneylines, you should see what they have to offer.
Speaking of offers, if you type in code MYB50 when you make your first deposit (worth $50 or more), you’ll qualify for a 50% match up to $1,000.
3. BetOnline – Best Sean O’Malley Futures Betting Site
If you like betting UFC futures, BetOnline is the place to do it. In fact, they already have a lineup for O’Malley versus Chito Vera, as well as one for Suga Sean vs. Merab Dvalishvili.
You can also get your money down on scheduled events all the way until the end of the year.
If you use code BET1000, you’ll get a 50% match up to $1,000. However, if you make a deposit with Bitcoin and enter code CRYPTO100, that jumps up to a 100% match.
4. BUSR – Largest Welcome Bonus of All Sean O’Malley Betting Sites
Anyone interested in betting favorites (like O’Malley would be against Vera) should look at the lines at BUSR.
They’re usually slightly friendlier to the favorites than the dogs, so your money will go farther here than elsewhere.
Use code SPORTS100FP to get a 100% deposit match up to $2,500. You’ll have to deposit at least $100 to qualify, but this is easily one of the best welcome bonuses out there for UFC wagers.
5. SportsBetting.ag – Best Betting Variety for Sean O’Malley Fights
Like BetOnline, SportsBetting.ag is already taking action on O’Malley vs. Vera and O’Malley vs. Dvalishvili (it thinks O’Malley will win the first and lose the second).
You can also bet on fun potential fights like Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg while you’re here.
If you want a 100% match up to $500, use code DOUBLEUP and deposit at least $100 after signing up. This promo code applies to the first two deposits, allowing new users to get up to a $1,000 bonus.
Bitcoin users can type in code 100CRYPTO for the site’s 100% crypto 1st-time bonus that goes up to $1,000. A smaller $20 deposit minimum applies here.
Sean O’Malley Next Fight – FAQ
What Date is Sean O’Malley’s Next Fight?
Sean O’Malley’s next fight hasn’t been announced yet, nor has his next opponent been unveiled.
Chances are, though, he’ll be in the Octagon again sometime early in 2024.
Has Sean O’Malley Ever Lost a Fight in the UFC?
Yes, Sean O’Malley has lost once in the UFC, to Marlon “Chito” Vera — at UFC 252 in August 2020.
O’Malley suffered a brutal leg injury early in the first round, and Vera finished him off shortly afterward.
Related Post: BetUS Review
How Much Does Sean O’Malley Make Per Fight?
In his last fight, the title match with Aljamain Sterling, it is believed O’Malley had a guaranteed minimum purse of $750,000, although the final number might have topped $1 million.
Tips and Strategies for Betting on UFC Fights
Betting on the UFC might seem like a difficult proposition; after all, how can you accurately predict what will happen in one of the most unpredictable sports of all?
Fortunately, sharp bettors have identified some trends and strategies that you can use to maximize your MMA bets, and we’ve compiled our favorite of these below.
Check the Fighters’ Histories
It’s often said in the UFC that “styles make fights.” That’s true for betting on fights as well, and we’ll go one step further and say, “Past performance is predictive of future results.”
You can’t make an informed bet on a UFC match without doing a deep dive into both fighters in it.
Take a look at how they like to fight — is this a matchup of a wrestler and a striker? Two grapplers? Or a couple of guys that like to stand in the middle of the cage and swing for the fences?
Once you know that, you should have a better idea of how the fight should play out, thus guiding your UFC picks and predictions.
As for who will win the fight, look at recent histories for clues. How has each participant done against fighters like their next opponent? How have they done in their most recent matches?
If a striker struggles against wrestlers, it’s unlikely they’ll reverse the trend in one fight. And fighters on losing streaks tend to stay on losing streaks — until they’re up against massively inferior competition (or out of the UFC).
Take a few minutes to give each fighter a long, hard look. Once you do this, you should have a much better idea of where your money should go.
Take Advantage of Live Betting
While it’s certainly possible to get a good idea of how a fight will play out based on past performances, this is still the UFC, where anything can happen. All the research in the world can go out the window once those fists and feet start flying.
That’s why you should bet while watching the action. Did your fighter just get rocked? Consider hedging quickly before the lines can shift. Is the fight playing out exactly like you expected? Then look for some profitable parlays you can build as well.
Too many bettors just put their money down and then walk away. Astute gamblers are always looking for other inefficiencies to exploit. Speaking of parlays…
Use Logic When You Bet
We touched on this already when previewing how O’Malley’s fights are likely to go, and you should take that thinking one step further and use logic to build parlays.
For example, O’Malley likes to swing for the fences. If he’s fighting someone like Chito Vera, there’s a good chance both fighters will stand toe-to-toe until one of them’s unconscious.
That means the fight’s unlikely to go the distance — and probably won’t make it to the championship rounds. So, if you like O’Malley to avenge himself in the fight, you might want to bet on him, a KO as the method of victory, and the under in terms of fight length.
All of the above bets tell a logical story about how the fight’s likely to play out, which is much better than simply picking any wager that catches your eye.
Shop Around for the Best Lines
All sportsbooks won’t necessarily have the same odds on a fight, and shopping around to make sure you’ve got the best lines can save you tons of money down the line.
Those little edges add up, and taking the time to get the best possible price on whatever bet you make can turn a slight loser into a break-even bettor — or even a winner.
Sign up for multiple sportsbooks so that you’re able to get a bet down quickly once you spot a line that’s out of whack with the rest of the market. There are some sports bettors who make a living simply by exploiting these lines — you’d be wise to emulate them.
Grab as Many Deposit Bonuses as Possible
You can qualify for multiple bonuses — ranging from deposit matches to bonus bets — when you sign up for more than one sportsbook. You can use those bonuses to give yourself an edge when you bet.
For example, many sportsbooks offer “second chance” bets, which are free bets you get if your first wager loses. If that’s the case, it makes sense to chase big money betting longshots with your initial wager, knowing you can bet on something more sensible with the bonus.
Regardless of what kind of bet you make, though, leaving these bonuses on the table is bad for business.
Ready to Bet on Sean O’Malley’s Next Fight?
It’s been a while since a fighter caused as much of an uproar as new bantamweight champ Sean O’Malley, and UFC fans are understandably eager to know when he’ll be in the cage next.
If you want to bet on his upcoming fights as he aims to defend his bantamweight title, we suggest heading to one of the sportsbooks listed above.
Our top recommendation is Bovada — they have the best odds, generous bonuses, and plenty of betting markets for UFC fights.
O’Malley promises to be one of the top fighters in the UFC for quite some time. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of that fact by getting your piece of his action while you can — just remember to bet responsibly.
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