Marlon Vera: Sean O’Malley got ‘a gift decision’ over Petr Yan, but still deserves the next title shot


Marlon Vera doesn’t believe Sean O’Malley beat Petr Yan, but still thinks “Sugar” should be next in line for the title regardless.

O’Malley faced Yan in the featured bantamweight fight at UFC 280, winning a split decision after three hard-fought rounds. Although the win was immediately criticised as a robbery and Vera does not agree with it, he doesn’t believe O’Malley lost the fight.

“A lot of people had 3-0 to Yan. I had 2-1 to Yan,” Vera said Monday on The MMA Hour. On Monday, Vera said that O’Malley’s body language was “I lost the fight” and then they handed it to Yan. But again, it’s a gift decision. The guy won the fight. Now he’s going to have a No. 1 next his name I guess, but I believe it was a gift. I believe he got the decision gifted, but we’ll see what happens with that. The fight was close. Both guys hurt each other, and I think everything comes down to the takedowns and the control time.”

Vera and O’Malley have history together. “Chito” was the first man to hand O’Malley a loss, stopping him at UFC 252 in 2020. O’Malley never claimed that his loss was legitimate. He said it was due to an injury. Since then, the pair have been fighting over the fight. Vera claims that many who downplayed O’Malley’s fight against Yan were far off the mark.

” For all those people who say that he is a suck and that he talks all talk, Vera stated that she never believed that. I always believed that a man can fight. The guy is skilled and has the tools. He’s probably the only person who is surprised that he proves himself to everyone. I believe he has the ability to fight. He has the power to win. He’s kind of a snake, but so are the rest of the division, so are the rest of the top 15. Anyone can be a good friend at that level.

” The level is almost the same. It’s who prepared better, who did enough reps, who put more time into it, and who can stay longer and didn’t catch up. So the guy can fight, but so can the rest of the whole division.”

Not only was O’Malley’s victory the most significant of his career but it may also be a major shakeup in the bantamweight division. Before the bout, O’Malley and Dana White both said that a win would likely garner him the next title shot; however, afterwards White suggested that former champion Henry Cejudo may be next in line instead. O’Malley would not be happy with this outcome, Vera does not agree, even though he might understand.

“As a fight fan, anybody who beat the No. 1 contender should fight for the belt, right? Vera stated that it was obvious. “O’Malley, it doesn’t matter what ranking he is, he beat No. 1, he should fight for the belt. The whole team thinks it was a brilliant decision. Everyone thinks he got a pass, which can hurt how the UFC treats him.

“It’s the same thing that happened with the Song Yadong fight. They robbed me, gave me O’Malley, and then gave me [Jose] Aldo. After a defeat, I was promoted. So O’Malley got the decision gifted, maybe they do the same thing, they probably hold him a little bit, make somebody else do it. We’ll wait and see. Again, that’s up Dana and the UFC. We will see what they are up to

And if O’Malley is somehow overlooked, Vera would like to share the rewards, if given the option.

“I’m a selfish prick so I will say myself,” Vera said when asked who deserves the next title shot. “Maybe [I will get it]. I said it before this fight, that decision is up to Dana White and the UFC. You can talk about anything you want. I could go insane, and I can lose all of my energy. But that is up to Dana White and the UFC. These are the ones who will make that decision. They will choose the next title candidate. But I am ready. If they call me, I’ll happily do it. I’ll happily do a No. 1 contender, I’ll also happily do it.

“I’m not tripping. I’m in great spirits. It’s going to be a constant improvement. All this time I use to keep improving, to keep working and to be ready when they call me to perform another show, to make another man laugh. I’m not chasing nothing. I’m not going after anything. The primary goal is to obtain the belt. However, in order to achieve the belt, you have to win.

Vera competed in August. She knocked out Dominick Cruz, a former bantamweight champion.