A long two weeks of anticipation ends this Saturday as the biggest pay-per-view of 2021 is finally upon us, UFC 264. Opening up UFC 264’s main card will be rising UFC star “Suga” Sean O’Malley (13-1) as he takes on a promotional newcomer Kris Moutinho (9-4).
In this article, we will be taking a deeper dive into the main card’s opener and see what’s at stake for both fighters come Saturday night.
What you see is what you get when it comes to Sean O’Malley and “The Suga Show”. The colorful hair, vibrant personality, and borderline arrogance all trickles into a wildly entertaining fighter inside the cage. Coming off a great performance against Thomas Almeida in March, it felt like a ranked opponent was inevitable for the bantamweight standout. Once it was announced Louis Smolka would be next, the fans weren’t too pleased, to say the least. After Smolka was forced out due to a staph infection, many bantamweights took to Twitter to throw their names in the hat, but not many could make the 136 weight limit the UFC and O’Malley were determined to stay at on such short notice. In the end, the man picked was 28-year-old New England native Kris Moutinho.
Moutinho will be making his UFC debut after he was picked out of a list of fighters only 11 days before fight day. With a record of 9-4, Moutinho has spent the majority of his career fighting for Classic Entertainment & Sports MMA. Winning the majority of his fights, Moutinho suffered losses to the likes of Tony Gravely and Bellator bantamweight Johnny Campbell along the way. Currently, on a 2-fight winning streak, Moutinho will be more than delighted to perform on the biggest stage in the sport on the main card of a Mcgregor pay-per-view.
Breakdown and Prediction for UFC 264: Sean O’Malley vs Kris Moutinho
For most bantamweights, the obvious game plan against a dynamic striker like Sean O’Malley is to spend the least amount of time on the feet as possible. O’Malley seems to find a striking flow when you let him dictate the pace and land strikes at his range. His footwork and movement allow him to constantly switch up his stances and attacks keeping his opponent guessing at all times. Another huge part of O’Malley’s game is his size. Standing 5’11” with a 72″ reach is a massive frame for the 135-pound division and “The Suga Show” is a master at keeping his opponents at the end of his strikes.
It would be wise of Moutinho to continue to test the legs of O’Malley as it is still unknown whether or not they are durable enough to withstand constant abuse over 15 minutes. Getting O’Malley in grappling positions along the fence or getting him to the ground will be a huge moment for Moutinho if he can do so. This should gas the arms of O’Malley just enough to take the stings off of his punches while simultaneously taking away his most dangerous moments early on in the fight.
Overall, the circumstances that Moutinho faces heading into UFC 264 are just too much to overcome against someone as talented as O’Malley.
Sean O’Malley vs Kris Moutinho official prediction: Sean O’Malley via KO
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