Brian Kelleher secured his second straight underdog finish this past Wednesday with a left hook KO of the undefeated Hunter Azure. The New York born Kelleher was being out-landed to the tune of 62-to-29 in terms of significant strikes before squaring up a couple of clean shots late in the second. A flurry and head-kick wobbled Azure and Brian “Boom” Kelleher knocked him down with a clean left hook. After one hammer-fist, Azure was out cold and Brian Kelleher had secured his second straight victory.
Kelleher had previously defeated Ode Osbourne at UFC 246. Like Hunter Azure, Osbourne made his onto the roster following a Contender’s Series victory. Perhaps the veteran Brian Kelleher – who has been in the UFC since 2017 – felt disrespected by the hype surrounding these prospects and responded accordingly. The win over Azure marked Kelleher’s 20th professional win and his fifth in the UFC. A decision loss to Jimmie Rivera at Bellator 95 and a September, 2015 win over Julio Arce highlight Kelleher’s pre-UFC resume, which is far more extensive than the Contender’s Series fighters he’s been fighting.
Keeping with the theme, Brian Kelleher called for yet another Contender’s Series veteran in his post-fight interview. “I told Dana White; get “sugar” Sean, stop protecting this guy. Get some joint papers, roll em’ up for me I’m gonna smoke his ass.” Kelleher said to Daniel Cormier. He was of course referencing Sean O’Malley, who most recently secured a first round, head-kick knockout of Jose Quinones at UFC 248.
O’Malley’s most recent victory came on the heels of a long layoff due to a nine month suspension. Before the Quinones fight, O’Malley had not appeared in the octagon since March 3, 2018, when he defeated Andre Soukhamthath. The 25 year-old O’Malley showed no signs of ring rust at UFC 248, displaying the unconventional, dynamic striking he has become known for en-route to a head-kick knockout.
In calling out O’Malley, Brian Kelleher will be hoping to take down yet another Contender’s Series fighter. Sean O’Malley is a huge name and if the fight hype goes the way it should, this could be a really fun one. Many would probably lean O’Malley in this bout, but the experience of Kelleher cannot be under-valued. It’s what kept him in the Azure fight and it would be his ticket to victory in a perspective O’Malley fight.
Kelleher also asked for some tie-dye shorts for the O’Malley fight. “I want tie-dye shorts too. I know you’re giving Bryce Mitchell some camo shorts, I’d like some tie-dye shorts for that O’Malley fight baby!” he said to Daniel Cormier.
What would you think of an Irish-American clash between Brian Kelleher and “Sugar” Sean O’Malley? Let us know in the comments.