icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
20 Oct, 2022 18:06

Tempers flare as Russian UFC star shoves rival at face-off (VIDEO)

Petr Yan will face Sean O'Malley at UFC 280 on Saturday
Tempers flare as Russian UFC star shoves rival at face-off (VIDEO)

Former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan got physical in Abu Dhabi on Thursday when shoving his UFC 280 rival Sean O’Malley during a staredown.

The fighters are set to face off on Saturday night with the winner standing a good chance of challenging the winner of a championship match between the division’s current ruler Aljamain Sterling and TJ Dillashaw. 

A heated press conference brought a war of words with O’Malley vowing to “smash” Yan and saying that the Russian had lied about his height. 

Yan responded to this by saying “it’s not about the height.”

“Just look at him, he’s like a woman on the side of the road,” he added, drawing laughter from O’Malley.

“That was good, that was good,” O’Malley admitted.

The combatants later walked up separate staircases to the stage, with Yan and O’Malley refraining from offering one another a handshake and immediately coming face-to-face.

The taller O’Malley looked down and attempted to intimidate Yan as commentator Jon Anik stood close by to diffuse any potential physical confrontation.

Tensions boiled over when Yan shoved O’Malley, but Anik and security separated the octagon rivals who could put on one of the most intriguing fights on a card which also features Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev locking horns for the vacant lightweight crown.

Losing two of his last three fights and with a 16-3 record, Yan could be in danger of dropping out of the immediate title picture with another defeat. 

On a three-win fight streak since tasting his first career loss to Marlon Vera, and with his last outing against Pedro Munhoz called a no contest due to an accidental eye poke, O’Malley does have some momentum despite facing by far the toughest test of his career to date against the number one-ranked Yan. 

UFC president Dana White has tipped O’Malley to become a ‘big global superstar’, but Yan will be eager to burst the bubble of a rising talent he has dismissed as a ‘Conor McGregor wannabe’.