After fans endured five split decisions and a disqualification earlier in the night, things started to get going late in the main card of UFC 222 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fight of the Night
“Welcome to the Suga Show, everybody.”
Sean O’Malley paved his way into a UFC pay-per-view main card, and he might not ever take a step back out of this featured spot after his efforts at UFC 222.
“Sugar” came out and began frustrating Andre Soukhamthath with his usual manipulation of timing and pace. He employed all of his usual creative striking techniques and was able to operate from a safe distance while he feinted and created openings. His constant switching of stance created a puzzle that was too difficult for Soukhamthath to solve. With just seconds to go in the first round, O’Malley stunned Soukhamthath with a right hand and left kick combination.
Soukhamthath stumbled back to his corner at the end of the opening round and was forced to learn and adapt to the style of the new UFC fan-favorite. Although he tried to push the pace, he was never landing with any significant impact.
O’Malley was seemingly cruising to a unanimous decision in the third round until the unthinkable happened. He attempted a right high kick and connected with the forearm of Soukhamthath, an action that would impact the remainder of the contest. O’Malley had injured his lower leg and was forced to hop around on one leg while defending against a surging Soukhamthath.
Rather than keeping the fight standing and working over an already injured opponent, Soukhamthath strangely decided to take O’Malley down to the mat. It was easily one of the most bizarre decisions to be made inside the UFC’s Octagon, and the choice would eventually cost him dearly when the scorecards were announced.
At the end of three rounds, Sean O’Malley won the contest by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28). O’Malley and Soukhamthath each took home $50k for their involvement in the UFC 222 Fight of the Night.
Performance of the Night
In the co-main event of UFC 222, Brian Ortega continued his incredible undefeated run by defeating Frankie Edgar in the first round.
After a back-and-forth first round, Ortega landed cleanly with a devastating elbow that stunned Edgar. With Edgar in deep trouble, Ortega loaded up a tremendous uppercut that lifted Edgar off the ground before he fell onto the mat.
For his stunning knockout victory, Ortega won a $50k bonus for Performance of the Night. He will now face Max Holloway in a bout for the UFC Featherweight Championship.
Earlier in the night, Alexander Hernandez scored an amazing upset victory when he defeated Beneil Dariush.
Stepping in on just three weeks notice, Hernandez marched past Dariush in just 42 seconds. Oozing with confidence, the 25-year-old displayed a brilliant understanding of angles and pressure to eventually catch Dariush with a powerful blow that ended the fight early in the first round.
Hernandez was awarded $50k for a Performance of the Night award.