UFC 252: Sean O’Malley v Marlon Vera Preview & Prediction
By Cathal Geeney
The co-main event sees two of the most exciting fighters in the bantamweights division go to battle as Sean O’Malley takes on Marlon Vera.
I expect both fighters to be very aware of the opportunity afforded to them fighting in the co-main event spot and they will look to make this a spectacle.
O’Malley recently made it twelve victories from twelve professional fights with a first-round stoppage over Eddie Wineland. The fourteenth ranked bantamweight is one of the most exciting fighters on the roster and he is being pushed by the organization accordingly.
Standing at five foot eleven inches, O’Malley is quite long for a 135 pounder and relies on his precise striking. The twenty-five year old is very light on his feet, throwing feints, switching stances effortlessly, all the while looking to land with his fists and feet.
Vera is also an exciting striker. The Ecuadorian also likes to switch stances and throws high volume punches, kicks, elbows and knees. His ability to switch stance keeps his opponent guessing and makes him very difficult to read. He has a good ability to mix up strikes to the legs, body and head.
However, Chito can be very eager to land his own shots and often takes damage on his way in. So, it will be interesting to see how his chin holds up against O’Malley who holds a record of eight knockouts from twelve victories.
This really is a fascinating match up as both fighters are such entertaining strikers. O’Malley likely has the edge in terms footwork and precision so he will be happier to let this fight play out at distance. I feel Chito may look to close the distance and make this a dirtier fight by landing elbows and knees in the clinch.
O’Malley goes into this as one of the biggest favourites of the night. Although, I think this may be closer than the odds suggest, I will still have to pick O’Malley for this one.