Sean O’Malley (aka “Sugar”), born October 24th, 1994, is an American professional mixed martial artist and one of the UFC’s brightest, upcoming stars as he begins to make his mark in the bantamweight division.
O’Malley (who just turned 27), has 1.92 million followers on Instagram, and is the 31st most popular MMA fighter, despite not even being ranked yet. He’s been displaying his unmistakable X factor, leaving us to question how popular he will be when he does move up a level to challenge the heights of his idol, “Mystic Mac”, Conor McGregor.
In his budding career, despite not fighting any ranked adversaries as yet, O’Malley’s most notable opponents on his record are UFC veterans, Thomas Almeida and Eddie Wineland.
O’Malley’s fighting style is mainly based around his slick, elusive striking skill that has earned him 10 TKO / KO’s out of his 14 wins.
“Sugar” is able to use his height and range to keep opponents at a distance, so when his opponents’ frustrations grow (from being unable to get a hold of him) this often leads to mistakes on which Sugar then capitalizes – often causing his opponent to walk into a big shot.
Despite having only one submission victory on his record O’Malley is no slouch when it comes to grappling either, as he is a proud owner of a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
O’Malley’s professional career started in 2015 with the organisation, Intense Championship Fighting. It would take only 93 seconds for Sugar to notch his first professional win against Josh Reyes
Sugar would go 5-0 under the Intense Championship Fighting banner before leaving and bouncing around a couple of different organisations, taking him to 7-0, which led him to a shot at Dana White’s Contender Series.
O’Malley did not miss his opportunity, and he would decimate his opponent, Alfred Khashakyan, with a one-punch, first round KO giving him his first blast into stardom, and earning him a UFC contract.
O’Malley would make his debut in the UFC just over 2 years since his pro debut to take on Terrion Ware at The Ultimate Fighter Finale, where O’Malley would win via unanimous decision victory.
Sean’s second UFC fight would come against Andre Soukhamthath in an amazing Fight of The Night where Sugar would, again, take the unanimous decision victory.
He would go on to finish his next two fights against José Alberto Quiñónez and Eddie Wineland and would earn performance bonuses for each fight.
However, in his 13th fight against Marlon Vera, O’Malley would suffer his first career defeat in a first-round TKO loss; but despite this, Sugar would bounce back as he KO’d Thomas Almeida in the third round, once again earning himself a Performance of the Night bonus.
In his most recent fight, O’Malley would take on Kris Moutinho and would get a late, third round stoppage in a Fight of the Night Performance.
O’Malley is scheduled to be back in action at UFC 269 on December 11th, against Brazilian, Raulian Paiva, the no.15-ranked UFC bantamweight – a win against Paiva could see O’Malley break into the UFC’s rankings himself.
Okay, so now you have the sweet backstory into Sugar’s career, let’s take a look at Sean O’Malley’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. José Alberto Quiñónez – UFC 248 (Mar. 7, 2020)
Coming off two decision victories, O’Malley looked to get back to finishing his fights in style, and would do so against José Alberto Quiñónez in just 2 minutes to steal the show.
In round 1, O’Malley comes out stabbing the oblique kick to Quiñónez’s knee, and a front kick to the body knocks Quiñónez off his feet.
Quiñónez struggles to find Sugar as he continues to move and keep his opponent away until, at 1:30 in, O’Malley unleashes a huge overhand right that sends Quiñónez back.
Quiñónez tries to bull rush O’Malley; however, Sugar, matador-like, sends Quiñónez the other way up to the cage, unbridling a crushing head kick that bounces Quiñónez off the cage and down to the canvas. Follow-up shots from Sugar close the fight at just 2:02 of round 1.
After coming off a Fight of the Night bonus, Sugar adds to his tally with another Performance of the Night bonus and an extra $50,000 to go with a fantastic stoppage victory.
4. Vs. Thomas Almeida – UFC 260 (Mar. 27, 2021)
O’Malley faced a former rising star in Thomas Almeida, who at one point looked to be the next big thing with a 21-0 record before losing 4 of his next 5 fights, which led him to fighting present, up and comer, “Sugar” Sean.
In round 1, as always, O’Malley comes out in his karate stance, stabbing the knee of Almeida with his oblique kick, and at 1:35 executes a spinning side kick to the body that visibly hurts Almeida as he almost doubles over in pain whilst trying to maintain a stoic poker face.
At 2:50 in, a left, head kick connects on the side of Almeida’s face and stumbles him back, followed by an overhand left that knocks him down. O’Malley walks off as though the job is done, but the fight continues and it gives Almeida time to get back to his feet.
In round 2, O’Malley continues his dominance as he picks off the shorter Almeida. From a distance, he continues to stab at Almeida’s knee; using his long jab to keep him at bay whilst mixing in his elusive footwork.
At 30 seconds into round 3, a powerful leg kick spins Almeida around, which seems to limit his mobility on the leg. By now, Almeida really seems to be unsteady on his legs, and at 3:45, is caught by a swift left that stumbles him to the ground.
Again Sugar walks off without the fight being stopped, however, he then begins to almost stroll over to the downed Almeida and uncorks a crushing overhand right that finishes the fight at 3:52 of round 3.
O’Malley bounced back after his defeat to Marlon Vera, and his third round KO of Almeida earned him yet another Performance of the Night Bonus worth $50,000.
3. Vs. Kris Moutinho – UFC 264 (July 10, 2021)
In his most recent fight to date, O’Malley faced short-notice replacement fighter, Kris Moutinho who, despite being outmatched, showed the true heart of a fighter in an all-out war.
In round 1, Moutinho immediately closes the distance but is met by multiple teep-like daggers to the stomach to try keep him at O’Malley’s preferred range. O’Malley continuously feints and moves in way that bemuses Moutinho. (Note: Teep kicks are also known as ‘push kicks’ which are straight kicks utilized in Muay Thai to push your opponent away.)
At a minute in, Moutinho begins to implement his leg kicks that seem to be work successfully, however, at 1:30, Sugar lands a beautiful, snapping combination followed by a sickening teep to the body.
Moutinho continues to walk forward, but with a lack of head movement, is picked off by O’Malley’s jab and straight right.
At 2:25, Sugar lands another superb combination, finishing with a glancing hook kick, but Moutinho is undeterred.
With 10 seconds left in the round, Sugar hits Moutinho with two powerful rights that drop him to the ground before dropping himself down for a guillotine, but the bell sounds before any tap.
In round 2, despite being decked at the end of the previous round, Moutinho continues to force the fight and press forward, but also continues to walk into O’Malley’s straight shots.
At 1:35, a straight left-right stumbles Moutinho briefly, yet still, he doesn’t take a step back. Despite O’Malley’s dominance and the obvious disparity in skill level, Moutinho’s constant, unceasing work rate seems to take a slight toll on O’Malley. Sugar begins to take deep breaths with just under a minute left in round 2.
At the end of the round he looks to the clock and vividly takes a huge gasp of air to compensate for his output on the resilient Moutinho.
In round 3, O’Malley comes out and cracks Moutinho’s knee with his oblique kicks and then begins to jab the face and teep Moutinho’s body.
O’Malley continues to work at a high volume as he peppers Moutinho but he still can’t seem to get the finish, and at 3:10, a beautiful rising knee connects with Moutinho’s chin, but he eats it for breakfast and marches forward.
With the last minute of the fight now, the crowd begins to roar in appreciation of the spectacle demonstrated by these two tough combatants and with 35 seconds left on the clock, they begin to clash.
After a few damaging shots, the fight is somewhat controversially called off as the crowd boos for not letting Moutinho hear the final bell by stopping the fight with just 27 seconds left.
O’Malley and Moutinho put on a memorable show here but it was Sugar who won via TKO. However, given the extraordinary staying power and performance grit shown by Moutinho, he, as well as O’Malley, were both awarded Fight of The Night bonuses worth $75,000 each.
After this fight, Moutinho’s popularity on social media soared with the number of his Instagram followers leaping from 2K to 167K.
2. Vs. Alfred Khashakyan – DW’s Contender Series 2 (July 18, 2017)
O’Malley’s first break out to the mainstream public, and where his star would first begin to rise and shine (to the casual MMA fan) was at his debut on Dana White’s Contender Series with over 6.5 million views on YouTube in which he would pull out a sensational KO win over Alfred Khashakyan.
The opportunity for a shot in the UFC was certainly not lost on these competitors.
In round 1, Khashakyan immediately presses the action trying to close the distance, and does so as he lands a takedown, 45 seconds into the contest.
Khashakyan is able to land damaging strikes; however, O’Malley stays calm, and at 1:30 in, is able to get back to his feet, and 30 seconds later, a glancing straight right opens up a cut on the side of Khashakyan’s face.
At 2:55, O’Malley fires out a thunderous right that sits Khashakyan down on the canvas, but he quickly gets up to be met with a chopping head kick and a flying knee that buckle his legs. Khashakyan gets back up again but almost looks out on his feet.
With just under 50 seconds left in round 1, a swift right hand leaves Khashakyan incapacitated with a one-punch KO ending the fight at 4:14 of round 1.
This outstanding one-punch KO would earn Sugar his UFC debut in his very next fight, this being his first step to becoming a young UFC star.
1. Vs. Eddie Wineland – UFC 250 (June 6, 2020)
Looking to take his streak to 12-straight, O’Malley took on UFC veteran Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 and would need only 2 minutes to get the job done.
In round 1, O’Malley comes out and uses his long-range weapons as he stabs Wineland’s knee with his long jab keeping the wiry vet at a distance.
However, at 1:10 in, Wineland catches O’Malley with a powerful straight right, but Sugar takes it well.
At 1:35, a Sugar spinning side kick to the body hurts Wineland, with a follow-up body kick, and swift right shaking Wineland to his core.
Sugar goes for the theatrics but misses with a spinning-hook kick and falls to the mat; however, after regaining his feet, he feints a left uppercut and a powerful, straight right that shuts Wineland’s lights out at just 1:54 of round 1.
This may be O’Malley’s most impressive victory to date, taking him to 12-0 whilst also earning himself a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus, (making it 3 straight bonuses).