Will ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley be sweet on these 3 UFC bouts?

Three UFC women's fights that will appeal to every fight fan...well, maybe not Sean O'Malley.

By: Stephie Haynes | 3 months ago

Last week, Sean O’Malley wondered on his podcast how a segregated UFC might look. His coach, Tim Welch, brought up a tweet from lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. The tweet has since been deleted, but Islam’s expressed view was that MMA was not a sport for women. O’Malley said that women certainly have a place in the sport, but then questioned whether a hypothetical women’s UFC, or WUFC, would survive if promoted independently of the men’s divisions.

Exactly what did Sean O’Malley say?

“What if there was a ‘WUFC’?” Sean O’Malley said (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “What if they had their own program? Would it last? Would they be able to sell pay-per-views, would they be able to sell out arenas? I’m just asking. What if it was the ‘WUFC’? It’s still the UFC, it’s still Dana, it’s still the UFC pushing these fights and promoting them – would it last?”

He would take it a step further, claiming that only a select few women were actually entertaining after prefacing that statement with a comparison to the WNBA:

“We’re not saying they’re bad,” Sean O’Malley explained. “We’re talking from a pure entertainment point of view. Look at the WNBA, look at the NBA. There is a few girls fights that are very entertaining. There is a few…”

“WNBA – WUFC, I’d like it. I think it’d be interesting… We’re not talking skill, they’re very, very skilled. I’m talking from a pure entertainment perspective. Like, ‘I can’t f****** wait for this fight.’”

It wouldn’t take long before the community was abuzz with discussion and Cris Cyborg was front and center with a response.

Three fights announced

Since then, three fantastic women’s fights have been announced. Sean O’malley will have to do some serious mental gymnastics to deny the entertainment potential of this trio of contests, but I digress. Let’s get to the announcements.

  • Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko II | FLW Champion vs. No 1 FLW contender
  • Rose Namajunas vs Manon Fiorot | *No 2 contender at SW vs. No 2 FLW contender
  • Taila Santos vs. Erin Blanchfield | No 3 FLW contender vs. No 4 FLW contender

There is an extra point to note on the title fight. It’s being reported that it will headline a fight night card rather than be a main or even co-main event on a PPV. Rumors of UFC 289 bringing in low buy rates could be a contributing factor. It wouldn’t be the first time a title fight has headlined a fight night card, nor even the first time for Shevchenko, who defended her belt against Liz Carmouche in 2019 on ESPN+. Again, as of this writing, the UFC hasn’t revealed whether this will be a PPV or fight night.

The fight is an immediate rematch, and one that’s warranted due to Shevchenko’s 1500+ day run as champion. The last person to defeat her was the GOAT, Amanda Nunes back in 2017. Alexa Grasso, primarily known for her striking, secured a fourth round face crank submission win, setting the stage for the rematch.

Looking at the other two bouts, we have an incredibly rare instance where the women at the very top of the division are being paired off in high-level, ranked fights. No mismatches of Number 3 taking on Number 13 or any of that garbage. These are phenomenal bookings.

Let’s review the facts of Rose Namajunas vs. Manon Fiorot. You might be asking yourself, “Self, why does this bout seem odd to me?” Well, that’s because Rose is making the jump up to 125 pounds. Her debut will be against the Number 2 ranked flyweight—a woman with six knockouts to her credit. Rose has been involved in some historic fights and has seven finishes of her own.

Now, let’s look at Taila Santos vs. Erin Blanchfield. What a fight! Erin is hot off a submission victory over Brazilian powerhouse Jessica Andrade. She kimura’d Molly McCann. Guillotine’d JJ Aldrich. And her opponent, Taila Santos, has 13 finishes in her career. Taila’s coming off a loss to Valentina Shevchenko, but it was a controversial split-decision that many felt she won.

How many FOTY accolades does Sean O’Malley have?

The potential for entertainment is through the roof for any of these bouts. But maybe you need evidence. Allow me to present an epic contest that was voted Fight of the Year in 2020. It was also voted UFC President’s Choice Fight of the Year. I give you, Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Zhang Weili in all of its glory, but you’ll have to follow the link to the UFC’s Facebook page to view it.

Remind me, Sean O’Malley, when you achieved those accolades. Let me jog your memory, the answer is never. In closing, allow me to give you some names to research, both in and outside the UFC. You’re welcome.

  • Jessica Andrade
  • Amanda Lemos
  • Natalia Silva
  • Karine Silva
  • Cris Cyborg
  • Stamp Fairtex
  • Angela Lee
  • Xiong Jing Nan

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About the author
Stephie Haynes
Stephie Haynes

Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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