“I felt bad for Yan,” Sterling told The MMA Hour. “I felt like, I did think that he got robbed. I think O’Malley was a little shocked and perplexed at the decision as well. I think it kind of caught him off guard that it was a split decision. I think it caught them all off guard that he won.”
Sterling isn’t alone in thinking that Yan should have been declared the winner. Bantamweight contender Marlon Vera also scored the fight for Yan. Former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had Yan winning all three rounds.
Immediately following the fight, during his post-fight interview, O’Malley admitted that wasn’t sure if he had won as the scorecards were being read.
“I didn’t know, honestly,” O’Malley said. “I thought it could have went either way. I’ll have to rewatch it.”
At the end of the day, O’Malley was declared the winner. His record will always show a victory over Yan. With the win, O’Malley catapulted from the No. 11 rank in the weight class to the top ranked contender in the division.