The stacked UFC bantamweight division has booked a fight between Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera. The newly ranked O’Malley is fresh off of his win against former WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland. Vera’s last fight, on the other hand, was a highly controversial decision loss against Song Yadong which broke Vera’s five-fight win streak.
Sean O’Malley versus Marlon Vera booked for UFC 252
O’Malley has made waves in the division. Absent for several years after some controversy with drug tests, the undefeated “Suga Show” has returned with two back-to-back first-round KO’s. Both fights won Performance of the Night. O’Malley has been highly marketed. This has earned the ire of fellow bantamweight and current title challenger Petr Yan. Yan mocked O’Malley’s long reach, his colorful hairstyle, and the perceived favoritism the UFC treats him with.
However, this marketing has also irritated Sean O’Malley himself. He has criticized the UFC/Reebok deal, where sales revenue of $1 million only garnered himself $3000 in royalties. This has inspired the bantamweight to announce his own clothing line, “Suga”. This news came shortly before the announcement of the UFC switching from Reebok to Venum in 2021.
Vera has also been getting attention himself. “Chito” has had some tough times in the UFC. Vera would be forced out of a season of The Ultimate Fighter by an infection and lost his UFC debut. But after a loss to Douglas Silva de Andrade the Ecuadorean went on a tear: a five-fight streak, all finishes. Vera’s most recent fight against highly-touted Chinese prodigy Song Yadong was highly controversial, with many scoring the fight for Vera.
This fight is an extremely tough test for both fighters. O’Malley’s youth and boxing being pitted against Vera’s experience and well-roundedness. The UFC bantamweight division has been especially exciting this year, and this fight will likely be no different.