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Anthony Smith: Sean O'Malley 'very smart' at matchmaking, Petr Yan 'probably the easiest' match among the petite elite

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Sean O’Malley may be many things, but stupidity is not one of them.

Despite a résumé that didn’t include a single win against a top 15-ranked opponent, O’Malley will skip the smallweight line for a showdown against former champion Petr Yan at UFC 280.

On paper, a matchup is tougher than anything O’Malley has faced before, but Anthony Smith, who once challenged the UFC championship, always warns anyone who thinks the colorful bantamweight will pop out of the water.

“I think Sean O’Malley is very smart about matchmaking,” Smith said. Warrior Against Writer. “I think it’s very, very calculated, and I’m not saying that as a hit. I think more people need to get better at doing this.

“Maybe my way of fighting anyone, anytime, anywhere, maybe that’s not the ultimate path to success. The biggest fight with the biggest man for the most money is the easiest and maybe that’s the way, I don’t know. Sean O’Malley I will say there are a lot of guys lined up below Petr Yan with whom .

To O’Malley’s reputation, he’s been called up for bigger fights against higher-ranking opponents in the past, but this is the first time the UFC has truly booked him against someone with Yan’s credentials.

“Stylistically, I think Yan is a good match for a guy like Sean O’Malley,” Smith said. “It’s shorter, chunkier, has a really wide reach downside. I think the way he fights supports Sean O’Malley’s style. There’s a world where you can see Sean O’Malley beat Petr Yan.

“Is this world that clear if it’s Cory Sandhagen? The path is not as clear as in Petr Yan. I mean this. I think he is very smart. I think he gets a chance to skip a lot of people who might cause him trouble.”

Whether it’s Sandhagen, Vera, or other potential pairings in the smallweight division, Smith finds that many fighters cause O’Malley headaches that Yan doesn’t necessarily show.

“I really like Sean O’Malley, I love his game, but even if a guy runs back with ‘Chito’ [Marlon Vera], I think that’s a tough one,” Smith said. “I’m not saying you can’t beat him, but… it’s a tough fight.

“I think he’s having a harder time with ‘Chito’ than with Petr Yan. I think Cory is having a harder time with Sandhagen than Petr Yan. I think he knows this. Credit to him. I think it’s a great fight. I think getting the number 2 guy with this skill is a stylistic dream.

“You look at the Aljamain Sterling matchup, you look at TJ Dillashaw, these are all really tough matches for Sean O’Malley. Petr Yan is probably the easiest of them all.”

While Smith chose O’Malley to win at UFC 280, he didn’t expect Yan to just disappear, and there’s definitely a world where the former petty king has won.

But in his view, Smith sees that O’Malley presents an appearance that may disappoint Yan, not to mention only working three rounds to work five rounds in a main event or championship fight.

“If Petr Yan shows up, he’s mean, angry, lost his title, trying to get back and starting to humiliate him and walking through all his bulls***, it’s going to be a long night. For Sean O’Malley, or too short,” Smith said.

“I have a feeling Yan will be stuck outside. I don’t think Sean O’Malley is going to finish him off. I don’t think anything crazy will happen. Petr Yan will have a hard time getting to him and I think Sean does a really good job of screwing people up sometimes and he fights Munhoz.” It was very similar. I think it’s going to be close like that. I don’t think it’s going to be as exciting as we all want it to be. I think it’s going to be very similar to the Pedro Munhoz fight, where he’s somehow battered him from the outside and the numbers will go up. I [going with Sean O’Malley]”