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Marlon Vera eyes ‘money’ matchup with Sean O’Malley after UFC 292: ‘The rest of the top five can just sit and wait’

Marlon Vera is hoping to get his hands on fellow bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley once again, but first they both need to capture wins tomorrow night (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023) at UFC 292 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside TD Garden in Boston, Mass. “Suga” will be fighting Aljamain Sterling for the UFC bantamweight title in the main event, while Vera meets Pedro Munhoz on the PPV undercard.

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MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

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In case you forgot, O’Malley and Vera don’t quite see eye-to-eye. Outside of being top contenders in the same division the two bantamweights fought once before back at UFC 252. Vera ended up stopping O’Malley via first-round TKO — which is his only professional loss to date — but it came after “Suga” blew his leg out. So even though Vera walked away with the win there is a bit of controversary surrounding that first matchup. That is why both fighters have been calling for a rematch ever since.

Luckily, their paths may align yet again if they are both victorious at UFC 292 this weekend. If O’Malley is able to end the title reign of Sterling and Vera can knock off Munhoz then a case can be a made for a rematch for the title sometime later this year. O’Malley has already agreed to a matchup this December.

“That’s just money right there and I don’t leave money on the table,” said Vera about a rematch with O’Malley if they’re both victorious at UFC 292 (via MMA Fighting). “If we go and win this Saturday, we can fight November, December, next month, any time. It’s a great payday for both and it’s business.

“If we win on Saturday night, that fight’s happening. The rest of the top five can just sit and wait. It’s business.”

O’Malley has caught some backlash for receiving a title shot against Sterling given the overall record of his UFC opponents. Guys like Vera have been putting in more work against top 10 competition over the past few years. With wins over the likes of Dominick Cruz, Rob Font, Frankie Edgar, and O’Malley himself, you might think Vera makes a better title challenger than “Suga.”

“They did a little bit of a boxing record for O’Malley,” Vera said. “I mean when they set me up to fight him the first time, it was pretty much his first test. You can say whatever the f*** you want to say, you still got TKO’d, the referee still pulled me out so I don’t cause too much damage. I mean you can say whatever you want but the facts are there.

“Then he fought Munhoz, it was an eye poke and then he went straight to fight for a No. 1 contender against in No. 1 guy in Yan at the time. It was striker versus striker but one is pretty big for the other guy so it’s tough but style wise it was perfect for him. Good for him. Some people got to go a little harder than others.”

Regardless of his beef with O’Malley, Vera is excited to see UFC 292’s main event play out. The bantamweight contender is leaning towards Sterling based on his overall skillset, but acknowledges that O’Malley has the striking skills to pull out the win, which would be better for Vera’s UFC title aspirations.

“In terms of on paper, Aljo should win,” Vera said. “But it’s a fight and if [O’Malley] lands first — he punches hard, I’ve been in front of him. I know he’s got power, he’s got good speed but the arsenal is very limited in my opinion. He’s a one at a time type of guy and we’ll see if he can really fight.

“But if he wins, it makes my life a little easier. I can also jump the ladder just like he did and I know it’s business so either side, I’m cool. I’m focused on f—king Munhoz. That’s all I need to worry about until Saturday. After that, we’ll figure it out.” will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 292: “Sterling vs. O’Malley” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the updated and finalized UFC 292 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.

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