“Contender Series Killer” Brian Kelleher Talks O’Malley Callout Following UFC Jacksonville

Just call him the Contender Series Killer. Brian Kelleher has polished off Ode Osbourne and now Hunter Azure in his past two fights. Both were highly touted prospects coming off the show, which has been a big hit for ESPN.

Kelleher (21-10), who knocked out out Azure at UFC Jacksonville on Wednesday, was the underdog heading into the fight. No one gave him the memo, apparently.

Post-fight, he called out another Contender Series alum. Perhaps the biggest: Sean O’Malley.

O’Malley has made a huge splash in his UFC tenure thus far, although he lost some steam while sitting out a USADA suspension. Still, the 25-year-old is an undefeated talent, and has a big future in the sport.

And Brian Kelleher wants a piece of him.

“It’s just his name, the hype,” Kelleher explained to Cageside Press and other media outlets in a virtual press scrum following UFC Jacksonvile. “The UFC, I know how they do things. They’re trying to bring these these guys that have star potential up slow, and give them match-ups that that are more favorable for them potentially.” Of course, as Kelleher pointed out, at some point if you’re going to be the best, you’ve just got to fight whoever gets put in front of you. “I’m just trying to steal that hype, and I’m trying to make my career better. If he’s going to be a star and I take him out, then I’m going to be a star.”

The math checks out.

Kelleher also recapped the action against Azure, and while he couldn’t recall exactly what his corner said to him heading into the second round, he knew he needed to just land on his opponent. “Get a little bit closer, don’t have to throw too much power behind it, but just touch him up a little bit,” he said of his approach. “Like once I was jabbing him and and committing to my punches, I started to piece him up a little and I saw him started to fade a little bit once I started to land. So you know, for me first round started a little slow. I let him kind of let a little bit of steam out and then I came out strong in a second.”

A third round, of course, wasn’t necessary, with Kelleher landing the clean KO at 3:40 of round number two.