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Sean O’Malley vs Marlon Vera Ends in a One-Sided Masterclass

Credit: Chris Unger/Getty Images


At UFC 299 last night in Miami, Florida, “Suga” Sean O’Malley dominated Marlon “Chito” Vera over the course of a five-round title fight to retain his spot at the top of the UFC’s bantamweight division and keep some UFC gold strapped firmly around his waist. 


Sean O’Malley may just be the star he promised he would be since exploding onto the scene through Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017. Suga Sean made the first defence of his bantamweight title on Saturday night at UFC 299 by battling Marlon Vera for five rounds in Miami. O’Malley thumped Vera for five straight rounds, demonstrating his prowess and impressive striking arsenal which left Vera’s face in a bloody mess. Although kudos to Vera, as he stayed in the fight until the very end, demonstrating the true heart of a fighter.


Vera even ate one of the toughest shots imaginable and barely staggered, which consisted of a perfectly timed knee straight up the pipe into Vera’s chin. The crack of the knee on Vera’s chin was so loud, you’d think that O’Malley would’ve cracked Vera’s jaw with that knee. Yet, Vera stayed standing and continued to fight for the full five. O’Malley swept the judges score cards in the end, however, scoring two 50-45’s and a 50-44 on one judges card.


This win for O’Malley ironically avenges his only career loss, which came against Vera back in 2020 at UFC 252. Vera secured a controversial TKO victory over Suga after it became apparent that O’Malley had some nerve damage in his foot. Suga could barely walk, which is where Vera capitalised. Although O’Malley likes to boast a perfect record with zero losses due to that injury, he must feel good deep down being able to avenge his only loss in such a dominant fashion. 


O’Malley is an absolute cash cow for the UFC. His flashy appearance and personality, complemented by his outstanding fighting ability make for a once-in-a-lifetime type of fighter. Especially with a title defence in his pocket now, the possibilities for Suga Sean are endless. So, where does he go next?


Sean O'Malley

Credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP


Immediately after his victory, O’Malley set his sights on his next victim in the in-octagon post-fight press conference with UFC commentator Joe Rogan. The confident 29-year-old took it upon himself to call out the newly crowned featherweight champion, Ilia Topuria. As Ilia holds the featherweight belt, O’Malley clearly wants a shot at that “double-champ” status, a feat that only ten fighters in UFC history have achieved. 


Topuria is another confident youngster who could pose severe issues for O’Malley. While O’Malley is easily one of the best strikers the UFC have ever seen, Topuria also has eerily fast hands with a ridiculous amount of power for a 145-pounder. On top of that, Topuria is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and a powerful wrestler, an area which O’Malley severely lacks. If Topuria manages to get O’Malley to the ground, it’s tough to see him getting up. 


Although, in no world is it an impossible feat for O’Malley. Suga Sean handled the former bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling, with ease. Sterling is a fantastic grappler, nicknamed “the backpack”. While Sterling could have easily dominated O’Malley on the ground, Suga Sean sparked him out cold before he even had the chance. It’s very possible O’Malley could do the same to Topuria, however, another defence under his belt wouldn’t hurt. 


Another defence against the #1 ranked bantamweight fighter, Merab Dvalishvili, is presumably what’s next in line for “Suga Sean” Sean. Dvalishvili is on an absolute UFC tear right now, with ten straight wins against UFC legends like Henry Cejudo, Jose Aldo, Marlon Moraes, Petr Yan and John Dodson. There is no way that the UFC can deny him a shot at the belt any longer, which could be a problem for O’Malley. 


Dvalishvili is an elusive, powerful grappler, who defeated a former two-weight division UFC champion and Olympic gold medal wrestler with ease. On top of his skills, he and O’Malley have some history, exchanging words over the internet and in person for the past year or so. However, Dvalishvili is a dangerous matchup for O’Malley. His grappling seemingly poses way too many problems for O’Malley’s strike-heavy offence, but once again, you just never know with O’Malley.


Sean O'Malley with the Belt

Credit: Zuffa LLC/Getty Images


Regardless of who he fights next, O’Malley deserves all the credit in the world. He’s built himself up from the lowest ranks of the UFC, all the way to the highest of the high. He’s a generational talent and is only just entering his prime as a UFC fighter, a scary thought for the bantamweight division. 


Both of his title fights have shown different sides to his game. His fight against the former champion Aljamain Sterling demonstrated his fight IQ, timing and knockout power, while his fight last night against former foe Marlon Vera demonstrated his stamina, accuracy, and arsenal of offensive weapons. If he can sort out the grappling aspect of MMA and get it on the same level as his striking, he will remain atop the bantamweights for a very long time. 


People have compared him to Conor McGregor due to his flashy style and somewhat arrogant personality. However, he’s not the next Conor McGregor, he’s the next Sean O’Malley.




Edited By: Josh Reidelbach




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