Hawaiian fighter Lois Smolka has withdrawn from UFC 264 with an undisclosed injury, as reported by Ariel Helwani on Tuesday. Smolka’s absence has sent UFC matchmakers scrambling to find an opponent to fight “Sugar” Sean O’Malley on what will likely be the highest-selling MMA PPV of the year.
Helwani’s full report:
“Louis Smolka is out of next weekend’s UFC 264 fight versus Sean O’Malley, sources say,” Helwani reported. “Undisclosed injury. They (O’Malley and Smolka) were scheduled to be on the PPV main card. UFC is hoping to keep O’Malley on the card, I’m told, but no new opponent locked in yet.“
After suffering his first defeat to Marlon Vera, a fight in which O’Malley injured his leg early on, “Sugar” returned to to the Octagon to lay waste to Thomas Almeida at UFC 260.
O’Malley Has Plenty of Offers for UFC 264 Bout
A flamboyant and easily marketable striker, O’Malley has all the tools required to make a real run at bantamweight. That said, “Sugar” is yet to claim an elite scalp in the division. Smolka would likely have been the emerging fighter’s toughest test to date.
The UFC is hot on its young star, so O’Malley has become a bit of a prized scalp himself. Little surprise then that, since the Smolka withdrawal, several fighters have stepped forward to request a bout with the Arizona native.
Ricky Simon, Tim Means, and – our personal favorite – Merab Dvalishvili have all offered to fill in for Smolka. The fighters have taken turns in offering their services via Twitter. Dvalishvili would certainly be the most interesting opponent for “Sugar” and is the only man currently ranked in the top-10 to have stepped up.
Unfortunately for Dvalishvili, his high-ranking will probably work against him on this occasion. And that’s despite the fact the Georgian fighter and offered to keep his scheduled fight with Marlon Moraes intact for UFC 266
“If @SugaSeanMMA needs an opponent I am ready and I will still fight Marlon in September!” Dvalishvili tweeted.
Headlined by the trilogy bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, UFC 264 is hot property for any fighter wanting to showcase his skillet to a mass audience. As such, we expect Dana White to be busy fielding calls from eager fighters for the next few days –
Here’s hoping Smolka returns to fitness ASAP. The Hawaiian is a warrior and, though we are yet to learn the exact details of his injury, I’m sure he’s absent for a legit reason. It’s just the nature of the MMA beast.
And don’t sweat it, fight fans, there’s plenty of time to salvage the O’Malley fight on this card…
Just fingers crossed it’s “Sugar” vs. “The Machine.”