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Ilia Topuria rejects Immediate Showdown with Sean O Malley

LockerRoom Team
10 March 2024

Ilia Topuria, the newly crowned featherweight champion, remains open to the idea of a future champion-versus-champion showdown with bantamweight titleholder Sean O'Malley. However, he's opting to defer the bout for the time being.

Following O'Malley's successful defense of his bantamweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Marlon Vera at UFC 299's headliner in Miami last Saturday, the undefeated fighter wasted no time in calling out Topuria. The move came after Topuria secured the featherweight belt with a second-round knockout of Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 in February.

O'Malley expressed his intrigue in the matchup, particularly preferring it over a bout with the next top contender in the bantamweight division, Merab Dvalishvili.

Dvalishvili, who boasts a 10-fight winning streak, has been promised a title shot next. However, Topuria, also from Georgia like Dvalishvili, isn't rushing into the confrontation with O'Malley just yet. In a tweet response to O'Malley's callout, Topuria hinted that the timing isn't right for the potential clash.

"Suga, congrats.. Was a beautiful performance! There is a fight chasing you with Merab.. Get that done first," Topuria tweeted.

ALSO READ | UFC 299 Full Results: Sean O Malley dominates Marlon Vera to retain title

As the specifics of Topuria's first title defense at 145 pounds remain uncertain, speculation arises that the bout could take place in Spain. UFC CEO Dana White had previously expressed interest in bringing the promotion to Spain for the first time following Topuria's victory over Volkanovski.

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