Say what you will about Marlon Vera, say what you will about how his fight with Sean O'Malley finished, the point is he's still never been finished. All 6 of his losses come from the scorecards. Now if he was going to get slept last night, is a question that can never be answered now.
The 27-year-old former flyweight and featherweight, has made himself a nice little niche at bantamweight. He did struggle upon entrance into the UFC. But had he not been stopped by Song Yadong, he would have entered the fight against "Suga" on a six-fight win streak. And in many people's eyes, he won that fight.
What could be next for Marlon Vera?
So the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt will now most likely once again see a number next to his name early in the week. And that gives him some options. But he also has some things he needs to work on. Sean O'Malley's push kicks, low kicks, and feints bothered him early. So that needs to be addressed if he truly wants to make a legit title run.
One of his options now is the next challenger. Merab Dvalishvili who won earlier in the evening kind of called out Sean O'Malley; which eventually will be an amazing fight, would be a solid scrap. "The Machine" has a gas tank that not only doesn't end, it gets better as a fight goes on.
That's a fight that makes a lot of sense. Both coming off wins now and on the same schedule. Plus neither suffered any real damage if at all. At worst they'll only have a 7 to 14-day medical suspension.
Another possibility would be running back his last loss against Yadong. Marlon Vera, despite dropping a unanimous decision there, had his moments. And the 22-year-old Team Alpha Male fighter hasn't fought since that win in May.
In essence, Marlon Vera could have a quick turn around in either case. Although the August 22nd card has had its share of fights fall off, he could slide into that one. Or even better the Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Justin Gaethje card on October 24th only has that one fight. And could look quite nice as the opening fight to the pay-per-view.
But if it's Song, Merab, or anyone else they will have their hands full because although Marlon Vera starts on the slow side, has more focus now than before.Published 16 Aug 2020, 22:20 IST