Sean O’Malley was looking to put on a show at UFC 264, but late replacement Kris Moutinho wasn’t going to make it any easier.
While O’Malley dominated the fight from start to finish with incredible precision and obnoxious strike combinations, Moutinho was like a damage-absorbing zombie and refusing to go away. Finally, in the third round, Herb Dean decided to stop the fight in a somewhat controversial fashion after Moutinho took several consecutive shots, but he was still standing and moving forward.
In the end, O’Malley took the TKO victory with the stop at 4:33 in the third round.
“Kris is a tough bastard,” O’Malley said after his win. “I was and I was not [surprised by the stoppage]. That’s a lot of damage to the head. He might not have thought it was a good stop, but it might have saved him a few years of his life. I was about to eliminate him for good.
Pretending to dribble a basketball between strikes, O’Malley was having fun early in the fight while pulling Moutinho apart as the newcomer showed up with sheer aggression. O’Malley was deadly accurate with his backlashes while also connecting with nasty kicks to the head and body.
While dancing around the octagon, O’Malley just blasted Moutinho with his forehands and showed almost no fear of strikes coming back from his opponent. O’Malley was giving Moutinho nightmares with his fast and precise boxing, including a searing right hand that knocked the New England native to the ground.
Time passed before O’Malley could secure the finish, but he was in full control as the fight entered the second round.
With Moutinho in pursuit, O’Malley was just picking his punches and then walking away before he could take damage in return. That said, Moutinho refused to slow down as he continued to advance and chase O’Malley with his entire arsenal.
Even though he was absorbing a lot more shots than he was distributing in return, Moutinho was still aggressive, throwing punches and doing his best to trap O’Malley against the cage.
At the end of the third round, O’Malley was determined to finish the fight after breaking out and bloody Moutinho, the referee saw enough and decided to stop the fight.
After his second straight win, O’Malley went on to aim for the top of the bantamweight division as he seeks to take a decisive step in the competition.
“Cody Garbrandt hasn’t won a fight since 2012,” O’Malley yelled. “Petr Yan is petrified. Dominick Cruz dodges me. [Rob Font] where are you?”