LAS VEGAS — Sean O’Malley’s meteoric rise to UFC stardom came to a halt on Saturday in the biggest fight of his career. O’Malley appeared to roll his ankle as he was moving away from Marlon Vera in the first round of their bout at Apex in the co-main event of UFC 252.
Seconds later, as O’Malley had limped to the other side of the Octagon, the ankle gave out and O’Malley collapsed to the canvas. Vera got on top of him quickly. He landed a left hand and then several elbows, forcing referee Herb Dean to stop it.
O’Malley was helped out of the Octagon by coach Tim Welch and then taken away on a stretcher. He was given a CT scan, but there was no result available.
It was a crushing turn of events for O’Malley, for whom UFC president Dana White and many others have predicted mega-stardom. He was boxing for the most part early in the bout, moving around and throwing low kicks.
Neither fighter had much notable success before O’Malley’s ankle gave out. It was clear when his ankle rolled that he couldn’t put weight on it and Vera’s corner urged him to kick at that leg.
O’Malley got to the other side of the cage but his ankle collapsed and he went down. Vera made short work of him when he was down.
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