Top-ranked bantamweight contenders Sean O’Malley and Merab Dvalishvili nearly got into a brawl of their own at UFC 288 after ‘The Machine’ decided to try on O’Malley’s jacket without permission.

In the evening’s main event, 135-pound champion Aljamain Sterling successfully defended his title, scoring a closely-contested split decision win over the returning Olympic gold medalist, Henry Cejudo. Following the contest, Sean O’Malley entered the Octagon and engaged in a heated face-off with ‘Funk Master.’ As things began to escalate, O’Malley removed his jacket which ended up in the hands of division standout Merab Dvalishvili who was in Sterling’s corner during the evening’s headliner.

READ MORE:  Photos - Ex-UFC champion Kamaru Usman becomes latest MMA star to model during recent trip to Milan

Not one to miss out on an opportunity, Dvalishvili threw on the jacket and climbed to the top of the cage, showing off his newly acquired swag.

Merab Dvalishvili Reacts to Altercation with Sean O’Malley

‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley was far from entertained and had to be restrained by officials inside the Octagon before Dvalishvili returned the jacket to its rightful owner. Backstage, Dvalishvili commented on the incident in a video clip which you can see below:

READ MORE:  Sean O'Malley backs Charles Oliveira to beat Islam Makhachev at UFC 294, call out Khabib Nurmagomedov for superfight

With Sean O’Malley sitting as the No. 2 ranked contender in the division, he is expected to be the next man to challenge Aljamain Sterling for the 135-pound crown. During their heated exchange, O’Malley and Sterling appeared to agree on a September setting for their bantamweight clash. That event would likely be UFC 293 though no official announcements have been made.

Sugar’ earned his spot near the top of the division after besting former UFC champion Petr Yan in a highly-debatable split decision win last year. The controversial victory extended O’Malley’s streak to four in a row and a winner in six of his last seven bouts. ‘Funk Master’ scored his third-straight title defense with the win over Cejudo. That extended his current win streak to nine dating back to 2018.

READ MORE:  Tyson Fury warned UFC alum Francis Ngannou is 'More dangerous' than ex-Champion opponents ahead of fight
Craig Pekios is a freelance writer born and raised in Bettendorf, IA. Joining LowKick MMA in May 2022, Craig has more than 2,500 articles published that focus on the world of mixed martial arts and boxing, including news, event previews, results, analysis, and op-eds. Aside from working with LowKick MMA, Craig has contributed to news outlets Overtime Heroics, Sportskeeda, and MiddleEasy.