Sean O’Malley And the Real Winners and Losers from UFC 299 | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 09: (L-R) Sean O'Malley knees Marlon Vera of Ecuador in the UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 299 event at Kaseya Center on March 09, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Sean O’Malley is a lot of things to a lot of people.

He’s a drawing card. He’s an “it” guy. He’s a phenomenon. He’s a champion.

Turns out on Saturday that the 29-year-old from Arizona was something else, too:

Faced with a rematch against the only foe to beat him as a pro, O’Malley put on a clinic of precision striking from the outside, inside and all points in between while winning a unanimous decision over fifth-ranked contender Marlon “Chito” Vera in his first bantamweight title defense.

All three judges scored a shutout for O’Malley, with a pair of 50-45 tallies and one 50-44.

It was comprehensive dominance for the “Suga” man, who controlled each round with speed and accuracy and was particularly devastating in the second round when he landed a right knee to Vera’s face that left his rival’s face instantly bloody and swollen.

“I felt something in his face break,” O’Malley said. “Chito is as tough as it gets, and it feels nice getting that one back. I guess we can agree I’m undefeated still.”

Indeed, the fourth round was the only incidence of even minor peril for the champion, who was hit with a knee near the fence and took a few punches in a follow-up flurry. But he was able to spin out of danger and had regained control by the end of the round.

It was his first five-round fight, and he was still as active at the end as at the beginning, landing a fight-high 62 significant strikes across the final five minutes.

“That was your finest performance inside the octagon,” Joe Rogan told him afterward.

O’Malley went off script after the fight by suggesting he’d like a chance to climb to featherweight to challenge new champ Ilia Topuria, but said he’d stay at 135 if the people wanted it.

“Get me a jet to Spain,” he said. “(Topuria) is a scary f—king dude.

“But if you want me to knock out (top contender) Merab (Dvalishvili), I can do that, too.”

For Vera, it was the eighth loss in 23 UFC fights and his first try at a championship.

“This isn’t it for me,” he said. “We talked a lot of sh-t to each other, but I always thought he was a great fighter.”

First appeared on

Leave a Comment