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Sean O’Malley rooting for Marlon Vera to whoop Cory Sandhagen — ‘Me versus Chito for the belt is massive’

UFC 252 Miocic v Cormier 3: Weigh-Ins Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Marlon Vera is the only fighter to defeat No. 1-ranked bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley, so I think most of us expect to see “Chito” and “Suga” run it back at some point down the line.

What nobody expected was to see that bout contested for the 135-pound title, but that could become a reality if Vera defeats Cory Sandhagen at UFC Vegas 69 and O’Malley beats Aljamain Sterling (or Henry Cejudo).

Or “Funk Master” could jump to featherweight and expedite the process.

“The APEX doesn’t have a big cage and it makes zero sense,” O’Malley said. “The big cage is what, 40 percent bigger than the small cage? Like, quite a bit, significantly bigger. That plays a role. I think it gives Chito a pretty big advantage. I don’t know if advantage is the right word, but a disadvantage rather for Cory. I want Chito to win, obviously, because then if that is the case (Sterling changing weight), me versus Chito for the belt is massive or I go out there and beat whoever that is and then first title defense is against Chito.”

The difference in APEX cage dimensions is explained right here.

Vera (20-7-1) and O’Malley (16-1, 1 NC) first went to war at the UFC 252 pay-per-view (PPV) event back in late 2020, with “Chito” scoring a first-round technical knockout. “Suga” was quick to attribute his loss to a foot injury.

Since then, Vera is 4-1 with two knockouts against 4-0 (1 NC) with three knockouts for O’Malley. If “Chito” can overcome Sandhagen in February, he would likely be a lock for a “Suga” rematch or the next crack at the 135-pound title.

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