On March 3, the UFC will return to Las Vegas with UFC 222. Here are three fighters to keep tabs on for this card.
Sean O’ Malley – This highly touted bantamweight prospect is no stranger to the spotlight after his highlight reel knockout victory on week two of season one of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Representing The MMA Lab, O’ Malley has a 9-0 record consisting of six knockouts, two decisions and one submission. I think the key to victory for O’ Malley will lie in his propensity to fight smart, stick to the game plan and be able to lull his opponent into a false sense of security. O’ Malley earned his place in the UFC with a first-round knockout of Alfred Khashakyan in July 2017. At just 23 years of age, I expect O’ Malley will only get better with time as he progresses in the UFC. His last victory with the UFC came at the co-main event of The Ultimate Fighter season 26 finale in December 2017 where he defeated Terrion Ware via unanimous decision. In Andre Soukhamthath, O’ Malley is facing a fellow knockout artist with eight of his twelve career wins coming via knockout. Soukhamthath’s last victory with the UFC came at UFC Fight Night 123 in December 2017 where he defeated Luke Sanders via TKO in the second round.
Jordan Johnson – This rising light heavyweight phenom holds an 8-0 record consisting of four submissions, three decisions and one knockout. Johnson is a very powerfully built fighter who tends to grind down his opponents as the fight goes on. I expect Johnson to use his wrestling to control his opponent and then go for the submission. Johnson’s last victory with the UFC came at The Ultimate Fighter season 25 finale in July 2017 where he defeated Marcel Fortuna via unanimous decision. In Adan Milstead, Johnson will be facing an opponent who holds an 8-1-1 record in nine career bouts consisting of six knockouts and two submissions. Milstead’s last victory with the UFC came at UFN 88 in May 2016 where he defeated Chris de la Rocha via TKO in the second round.
Zak Ottow – This gritty MMA veteran owns a 15-5 record in 20 career bouts with ten of those wins coming via submission. Ottow has an excellent skill set that has aided him in his two UFC wins thus far. I fully expect Ottow v Pyle to earn Fight of the Night honours at UFC 222. I think the key to victory for Ottow is going to be how well he uses his gas tank in the early stages of the fight. Ottow’s last victory with the UFC came at UFN 110 in June 2017 where he defeated Kiichi Kunimoto via split decision. In Mike Pyle, Ottow will be facing an equally seasoned MMA veteran who holds 16 of his 27 career wins via submission. Pyle’s last victory with the UFC came at UFN 82 in February 2016 where he defeated Sean Spencer via TKO in round three.