“I think the last fight was kind of flukish” - Urijah Faber predicts outcome of Sean O'Malley vs. Chito Vera
Urijah Faber recently gave his take on the Sean O'Malley vs. Chito Vera rematch and also weighed in on the first encounter between the two bantamweights.
At UFC 252 in August 2020, 'Sugar' Sean O'Malley faced Marlon 'Chito' Vera in a bantamweight bout. Vera emerged victorious via first-round TKO and thereby handed O'Malley the first, and thus far only, loss of his professional MMA career.
However, O'Malley and many others argued that Vera's victory was a fluke. They pointed out that 'Sugar' suffered a peculiar injury, as a calf kick from Vera hurt his peroneal nerve and severely compromised his movement. Unable to move and even stand, the flashy striker fell and was swiftly stopped by 'Chito' via ground strikes.
In the ensuing years, both fighters have ascended up the bantamweight ranks. In his most recent fight, at UFC 292 in August 2023, Sean O'Malley beat Aljamain Sterling via second-round TKO to capture the UFC bantamweight title, and he'll look to defend the belt against Marlon Vera at UFC 299 next year.
In a recent interview with The Schmo, Urijah Faber was asked whether he sees Sean O'Malley possibly defending the bantamweight title against his (Faber's) Team Alpha Male protégé Song Yadong. For that to happen, 'Sugar' would need to get past Vera first.
On that note, Urijah Faber suggested that O'Malley would likely beat 'Chito' in their rematch and that the latter was lucky in their first fight. Predicting the UFC 299 matchup's outcome, 'The California Kid' stated:
"'Chito' is very tough, obviously has finishing power, and has been able to do it late in fights, even coming from behind quite often. But for O'Malley, I think the last fight was kind of a little bit flukish. Obviously, 'Chito' is prepared and able. But some weird stuff happened with the ankle [O'Malley's ankle]."
"I think it's going to be a different fight this time. I think O'Malley gets it done. People sleep on O'Malley, they always have. People hate on the guys that get the most attention. That guy's as legit as it gets."
Catch Urijah Faber's comments below (1:53):
Sean O'Malley on his 2020 defeat to Marlon 'Chito' Vera
The Sean O'Malley vs. Chito Vera feud has gradually intensified over the past few years. Vera maintains that he won their first showdown fair and square. Regardless, O'Malley has unwaveringly emphasized that the Ecuadorian fighter was simply lucky.
The reigning UFC bantamweight champion reiterated the same during his appearance on Andrew Schulz's Flagrant podcast earlier this year.
O'Malley indicated that after their UFC 252 fight, Vera hasn't been able to incapacitate any of his UFC opponents with a calf kick to the peroneal nerve. Moreover, 'Sugar' implied that Vera would fail to replicate their first fight's outcome when they clash again.
Catch Sean O'Malley's assessment below (49:35):