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Sean O’Malley vs Marlon Vera – Fight Preview

This Saturday we will see Heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier face off for the 3rd time for the Heavyweight title. However, before the main event starts we have a killer matchup between the undefeated prospect Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera!

Sean O’MalleyTale Of The TapeMarlon Vera
12-0MMA Record17-6-1
25Age27
136lbsLast Weight145.5lbs
180cmHeight173cm
183cmReach179cm

Sean O’Malley

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 06: (R-L) Sean O’Malley punches Eddie Wineland in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 250 event at UFC APEX on June 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Sean O’Malley (12-0) is one of the biggest fan favorites in the sport due to his creative fight style. O’Malley is only 25 years old and is already climbing the bantamweight rankings in spectacular fashion. The main reason that “sugar” is undefeated is that nobody has been able to stop his unpredictable striking in addition to his calm and collected mindset.

At just 17 years old a young Sean O’Malley began his MMA career in the amateur rankings. After being recognized for the talent he shows today, O’Malley, and his coach, Tim Welch, decided that it was best for O’Malley to take things step by step and slowly gain experience. Sean decided to have 10 amateur fights before taking to the main stage where he maintained a record of 10-2.

The talent of O’Malley became apparent immediately in the professional rankings. He was able to rack up a 6-0 record before he was signed to the UFC in 2017. It has always been well known that Dana White likes fighters who look for a finish. Sean O’Malley is exactly that.

It sometimes seems that there is not an inch of the octagon that can keep you safe from Sean O’Malley. He is a very long and rangy kick-boxer that seems to pull off unthinkable kicks and punches from all angles. However, it is O’Malley’s setups that allow him to throw these outrageous strikes.

If you are looking for a lesson in MMA just watch the way that Sean O’Malley presents himself in fights. Every shot is set up with a feint or a kick. He moves in circular motions to lure his opponents into one of his kicks. We always see Sean gliding around the octagon and showing feints.

After Sean has read all of your movements it is time for “sugar” to strike. He will pick up on all of the small movements and adjustments that you make. Before throwing a devastating shot before you can find your rhythm. This shot will normally seriously deplete the opponent or score a devastating knockout. Thus leaving Sean to climb the rankings and collect the $50,000 bonus from Dana White.

O’Malley really made his name in the UFC after just 1 fight on Dana White’s Contender series. DWCS is a show that allows regional talents to show their skills on the main stage in front of Dana. If they manage to impress the boss they are normally offered a UFC contract later on in the night. Dana describes the show as a “job interview”. And it is more than fair to say that O’Malley was able to get the job in classic “sugar” fashion.

O’Malley is easily the most prominent success story to come from the show, however, Sean has come a very long way since his time on the show. In 2017 O’Malley made his debut on the show in a tough bout against competitor Alfred Khashakyan (11-5).

Khashakyan faced exactly the same problems with Sean as we see from his opponents to this day. He just could not get inside of O’Malley’s boxing range without eating a strike. Sean went the whole fight constantly hurting Alfred with fast punches and explosive kicks. “Sugar” was able to knock Khashakyan down with multiple head kicks and long punches before eventually securing a vicious right hand KO at the end of round 1.

If the performance alone was not enough to get you onboard the O’Malley hype train his post-fight antics were sure to do the trick. After leaving Dana White, Snoop Dogg, and Urijah Faber all out of there seats Sean produced a masterclass on the mic. He climbed to the very top of the octagon and shouted to Dana White “Welcome to the sugar show, this is my show”. In producing one of the most quotable lines in UFC history from that day forward, a star was born.

Later that night Dana offered O’Malley a UFC contract and together they have not looked back since. After just one performance Sean O’Malley became an overnight viral sensation with 3.3 million people tuning in to see his performance online. Later on, in the year O’Malley made his full UFC debut against heavy-handed boxer Terrion Ware (17-11).

This was one of “Sugar’s” hardest fights to date however he was able to creatively mix up his strikes and once again pull off the unanimous decision victory. It is worth noting that in this fight Sean was able to display some of his high level grappling to put the division on notice.

Former Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier pointed out in this fight the was that O’Malley’s lateral movements allow him to create angles and find a home for his strikes and it really shows the high-level MMA brain that O’Malley has at such a young age.

In March 2018 O’Malley went on to face Andre Soukhamthath (13-8) and it was another vintage O’Malley performance. O’Malley was able to create angles and throw crazy kicks to hurt Andre on many separate occasions. Something that Sean did that particularly sent the commentators wild was a spinning back-fist into a spinning hook kick which really got the fans on their feet. Joe Rogan has even gone as far as to say that Sean’s fluidity is like nothing we have seen in the octagon ever before.

Towards the end of this fight, O’Malley threw a hook kick that hit Andre clean on the top of the head. This did some damage to Sean’s foot and lead to him hopping for the last 30 seconds of the fight before Soukhamthath was able to take him down. Many say that if Soukhamthath were to stand up with Sean for the last 30 second the referee may have stopped the fight due to the injury. What do you think? Have your say below.

Since this fight in early 2018, it seemed like disaster had struck for O’Malley as after he had recovered from the foot injury later on in the year he was hit by an athletic commission suspension. Sean O’Malley was charged with a “tainted substance” ban for something that he had no idea was in his system. The only thing that we were able to see from O’Malley was a grappling match that he won for the next 2 years.

After 2 years away from the sport dealing with these suspensions most fans expected Sean to make a comeback in 2020 however expected him to be slightly out of favor due to the time off. As usual Sean went on to shock the UFC world as he had spent his time off practicing his craft and most importantly gaining muscle. At the start of his career Sean was a very lean opponent however he has gained lots of muscle in good areas making him a more complete Bantamweight.

Sean made his full UFC comeback in March of this year with an impressive head kick KO over top-level opponent Jose Alberto Quiñonez (8-3). After this victory, Sean had made it clear the the “sugar show” was back on track.

After this victory, Sean took on UFC veteran Eddie Wineland (24-13-1) just 3 months later and made a huge statement. Wineland made his name with a very “walk-forward” boxing style. Wineland has had no problem entering boxing range and landing huge shots on the inside

However as usual this was not the case with O’Malley. Sean fainted an uppercut and landed a brutal right hand to put Eddie to sleep as nobody has ever done before. Sean executed a vicious walk-off KO sending the commentary team crazy and going viral in seconds. Will “Sugar” be able to put Vera to sleep? Have your say down below.

Marlon Vera

However, on the other side of the octagon, hoping to stop the progress of the “sugar show” is Ecuadorian international Marlon Vera (17-6-1). Vera has been signed with the UFC since 2014 and has faced some top competitors. Marlon even has a win over British MMA legend Brad “One Punch” Pickett (25-13).

This was Pickett’s last fight with the UFC and it was in his home town. Vera was able to soften Pickett with heavy jabs. The jab is something that Vera has worked on keeping thick and fast throughout his career. Then Vera was able to throw a stiff head kick to put Pickett down.

Marlon then finished the fight with ground and pound in vicious fashion. The result may not have mattered too much for Pickett. However, it was a great win for Vera to climb the rankings and make a statement for the UK fans.

Vera fans will certainly be looking for Marlon to use this durability and creativity this Weekend. There is no doubt that Vera will be O’Malley’s toughest opponent to date. His ability to take shots and mix up his attacks will make him a real threat. Some fans would even go as far as to say that Vera could be O’Malley’s worst nightmare.

In his 7 years with the UFC, Vera has managed 15 fights with a record of (10-5). His UFC experience is really amazing considering his time with the organization. 9 of Vera’s 10 wins with the company have all come via finish and usually with a very brutal ending. Whether it is on the feet or on the canvas it is fair to say that Marlon Vera is a real finisher.

However, Marlon’s greatest UFC accolade is that he has never been finished inside the octagon. Vera has displayed incredible toughness and heart and has a very unique way of not showing any signs of hurt when hit with a big shot. Marlon has eaten some huge shots in the UFC against some real killers. However, no opponents can seem to keep him down.

Marlon believes that all of his MMA wins have come from outsmarting his opponents. He believes that because his opponents often can’t hit him or keep him down they become annoyed. This rushes his opponents to become complacent or tired in the fight. And Marlon Vera is one of the last men you want standing across from the octagon if you feel yourself starting to fatigue.

Marlon has huge dreams to become a UFC champion someday. And a win over a huge prospect like O’Malley will do him no harm. With his UFC experience, durability, and high profile finishes, there seems to be nothing stopping Vera in his mission for UFC gold. Vera also believes that his ability to bounce back will help him progress his career and improve his longevity. “Chito” has lost 5 unanimous decisions in the UFC and has only failed to bounce back with a finish on one occasion.

Vera decided to make MMA his main priority in 2016 after his fight with Guangyou Ning (5-4-1). Marlon moved alone to the USA for this fight camp and used the fight money to bring his family over and take on MMA full time. Training down in Albuquerque, New Mexico Vera believes that he has the best team in the UFC.

Marlon Vera takes guidance from certain boxing coach, Jason Parillo. Parillo is who is world-renowned for the mental edge that he instills in his pupils. Parillo has said that he is trying to teach Vera that rather than wrestling he should use his left hook to get takedowns. A very old fashioned coach that is strongly linked with the success of “Chito”.

According to his coaching staff, Chito studies the game of mixed martial arts more than anybody they have ever met. It seems that everybody around “Chito” can recognize his smart approach to fighting. This is why many believe he could cause major problems for Sean O’Malley. Can Vera figure out O’Malley? Have your say down below.

Vera has been watching all fighters from the top to the bottom of UFC cards and even takes notes on things that he feels will impact his performance. Vera will then go home and practice these new skills and try to use them in training to give himself that bit more creativity. This shows when Vera fights as he seemingly looks better every time he steps into the octagon.

Marlon also claims that the main thing that will take him to the title is his mental strength. He described many top 5 bantamweights as mentally weak. With his mental strength and durability Vera is the real deal. If he keeps improving at this rapid pace, he could easily become a future champion.

Fight Breakdown

Sean O’Malley opens up as the favorite for this fight and a KO the most likely ending. Despite the fact that Vera is yet to be finished it is hard to deny O’Malley. Despite not being a big, stocky bantamweight O’Malley has some serious power.

With the way that O’Malley creates angles and lands the shots you have to feel that he will be able to land on “Chito”. I think that O’Malley will be looking to immobilize this fast-paced style. With Sean being predominantly a stand-up fighter “Chito” should not have to worry about takedowns too much.

I’m sure that “Chito” will have worked on ways to slow Sean and potentially constantly throwing heavy leg kicks early on. The only issue that could occur is the leg reach of O’Malley. His long legs could either leave him exposed to these kicks or possibly land a classic O’Malley head kick and get the finish when Vera over commits.

All of the hype could potentially be stolen from Sean if he loses to Vera and this could play a factor. Vera has so much to gain with a win over O’Malley and this is something that he has wanted for a long time. In my opinion, if Vera can use that durability and make this fight a slugfest, he has every chance of getting his hand raised.

However, O’Malley is coming off of two first-round finishes. So something tells me that “Chito” may have to whether quite the early storm in this one. I think that all fans are hoping or Vera to take this fight to the distance. It has been over 2 years since Sean went 3 rounds and the fans would like to see him face a real test before he is pushed into the deep end of the division.

It does seem that Sean has the destiny to become a UFC champion. Whether this is because of the promotional backing that the UFC has put behind him or his talents in the octagon. This really makes it hard to bet against thew “sugar show”. Maybe if Sean is able to show some of his Jiu-Jitsu skills this weekend fans may see him in a different light.

To summarize, O’Malley loves to keep the fight at range and pick at opponents with his kicks. He has amazing distance control and loves to hit guys n the way in. Nobody has been able to get inside the boxing range of Sean yet. Without being put away by a huge shot that is. The other alternative is that Sean will hit you on the way in. This will make you think twice about trying to put the pressure on again.

However, on the other hand, we have Marlon Vera. Vera is a very high-pressure opponent that loves to make fights aggressive. He will be looking to get inside of Sean’s boxing range and utilize his dirty boxing. Vera has been more than happy to eat shots from his former opponents. However, he may show more caution based on the current power that O’Malley is displaying.

This fight will come down to who is able to implement their game plan first. Personally I feel that one way or another Sean will be able to get it done. I think that all of the fans are hoping to see a longer fight for O’Malley. However, I’m not too sure Vera will be able to take the pressure. However, you can never count out “Chito”. Who do you think takes this one? will O’Malley put on another Show? Or will Vera steal the hype? Have your say down below.


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