UFC 299
Oct 22, 2022; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sean O'Malley (blue gloves) defeats Petr Yan (red gloveS) during UFC 280 at Etihad Arena. Mandatory Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

“Suga” Sean O’Malley Defends Bantamweight Belt at UFC 299

“Suga” Sean O’Malley seeks revenge against Marlon “Chito” Vera in UFC 299.

Vera is the one man to best O’Malley thus far in the cage fighting.

Undisputed and Undefeated?

Sean O’Malley has one loss in his MMA career, yet when Bruce Buffer announces his name at UFC 299 you will see Suga hold up a zero as he hears his record of 17-1 (one no contest).

O’Malley’s one loss was a first-round technical knockout at the hands (or should I say feet) of the gladiator opposing him on Saturday night, Marlon “Chito” Vera (23-8).

In Round 1 of the supposed Suga show, Chito threw a leg kick where his toe poked the peroneal nerve of O’Malley. The peroneal nerve lies just behind the knee while sitting slightly below it.

One kick to said nerve renders any fighter almost useless. Take Henry Cejudo. Demetrius Johnson kicked him square in the peroneal nerve, and Cejudo sprained his ankle immediately after due to uncontrollable leg movement.

It was no different for Suga. Collapsing to the ground he went. Chito followed up with Swiss Army Knife like elbows and closed the show, the Chito show.

From the Dust Rises a Champion

Lucky or not, O’Malley’s career catapulted from his one defeat.

Four knockouts and one blood-riddled war with Petr Yan later, Suga felt the grasp of gold lying ahead of him.

The match was made; the date was set. Dana White and the UFC booked Sean O’Malley to challenge for the bantamweight title against the man many thought would be his kryptonite, Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling.

Sterling was not and is not the highest-level striker. Sterling has never been a knockout artist. He has elite level grappling in which he drowns his opponents in unescapable pressure.

That was the expected result between Funk Master and O’Malley.

The first round and a half of this championship bout was slow. Suga used evasive footwork to stay off the cage and prevent Aljo from establishing his game plan – takedowns.

Round 2, step back right hand, Sterling collapses and O’Malley is the new bantamweight champion of the world.

https://twitter.com/ufc/status/1764773564283031743?s=20

Blessed by the Best?

Chitos’ last win came over an old Pedro Munhoz. A man who is far removed the bantamweight title discussion.

Before that, Corey Sandhagen dominated Vera for 25 minutes in a five round fight where Chito had no answers.

Vera looked helpless on the ground, like a calf on the feet and a deer in the headlights for the entirety of the fight.

Simply put, Sandhagen made Chito look levels below.

Two fights later, despite losing to a better man, Vera finds himself with a crack at the 135-pound belt.

A title shot earned in skill, or a title shot where Chito was handpicked to be knocked out by the champion to erase the one blemish on his record.

Either way, the opportunity of a lifetime stares into the soul of Vera, the Ecuadorean.

A Rivalries Peak

Sean O’Malley squares off against Marlon Vera this Saturday in the Kaseya Center in Miami.

You can watch the main card on ESPN+ at 10 p.m.

The prelims begin at 8 p.m.

The early prelims kick off the card at 6 p.m.

What Bruce Buffer viscously screams post main event on Saturday night will determine the state of the bantamweight division for years to come.

Will the UFC enter the era of the Suga show, or can Marlon Vera defeat the pay-per-view star and ensue pandemonium in the bantamweight division?

About Nate Bilgoray

Nate Bilgoray is a sophomore at the University of Florida studying sports journalism. Nate is from New York and is an avid fan of the Yankees, Giants and Knicks. He loves mixed martial arts and would love to do play-by-play for the UFC one day. Nate is a host for WRUF's talk show, the sports lab, and is a play-by-play broadcaster for The Orange and Blue Sports Network.

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