Raulian Paiva vs. Sean O’Malley UFC 269 Odds, Pick & Prediction: Can ‘The Suga Show’ Keep Winning? (Saturday, December 11)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC Fighter Sean O’Malley.
- Sean O'Malley faces his toughest test at UFC 269 against Raulian Paiva.
- O'Malley has won two straight since a loss to Chito Vera, while Paiva recently made the move to 135 pounds from 125.
- Sean Zerillo breaks down the matchup and delivers his pick for bettors below.
Raulian Paiva vs. Sean O’Malley Odds
|Approx. 10 p.m. ET|
Sean O’Malley faces his toughest test yet in the UFC when he takes on Raulian Paiva at UFC 269 on Saturday night.
O’Malley bounced back from a loss to Marlon “Chito” Vera with a pair of impressive wins in March and July of this year, although neither opponent was close to the quality of Paiva.
Paiva has won three straight fights, although he has only fought once at bantamweight. That was a majority win over Kyler Phillips back in July.
Below I preview how these fighters stack up and which side has betting value in this matchup. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||12:06||8:54|
|Weight (pounds)||135.5 lbs.||135.5 lbs.|
|Date of birth||10/17/95||10/24/94|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||4.24||8.25|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||4.90||3.59|
|Take Down Avg||0.62||0.63|
O’Malley is one of the most polarizing athletes in the world; I have a hard time deciphering a comparison for someone who fans simultaneously view as dramatically over or underrated, depending on who you ask.
The UFC recognizes the star potential of “The Suga Show” — what other unranked prospect continually gets prime real estate on PPV main cards? And they consistently hand him winnable matchups.
Paiva, a former flyweight, certainly fits the billing. He’s an inefficient striker (-0.66 differential, 93% combined accuracy and defense) who bull rushes opponents and makes his fights dirty. Essentially, he’s a superior version of Kris Moutinho, who absorbed 230 strikes in June’s short notice debut loss to O’Malley.
O’Malley has the size advantage (3-inch edge in both height and reach), in addition to sublime distance management (+4.66 strike differential; 127% combined accuracy and defense) to counter Paiva with ease.
Paiva was nearly finished twice in Round 1 against O’Malley’s teammate, Kyler Phillips, but rallied to secure a decision victory (which should have been scored a draw). The Brazilian has shown a ton of heart in his wins, but he excelled by bullying around smaller flyweights and was lucky to survive his last fight until Phillips gassed out.
Paiva needs to put O’Malley on his back or press him up against the cage to slow down the proceedings. If he hangs out at a distance or has to blitz to close the range continually, he’s going to get put out with a big counter after overextending.
In a smaller cage at the APEX, I might give more credence to the Paiva side, but O’Malley will have ample room to maneuver in the 30-foot octagon, and Paiva will be chasing him around the cage for the duration.
O’Malley’s critics aren’t without justification and there will be betting spots to go against “The Suga Show” in the future, as we did with Marlon Vera, but Paiva is a very winnable matchup and a potential highlight on a platter.
Paiva vs. O’Malley Pick
I project O’Malley as the value side in this fight, and I like his moneyline (projected -380) as a parlay piece. If you’re betting this fight straight, I would play O’Malley to win inside the distance (projected -112, listed +105).
I also show slight value on the fight to end inside the distance (projected -174), but most of that value is tied to O’Malley’s win condition.
The Pick: Sean O’Malley wins Inside the Distance (+105, 0.25u)