Chito Vera Wants Sean O’Malley to Regret Asking for UFC 299 Rematch

March 5, 2024
1 month

UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley believes there are likely fighters more deserving of a shot at his title. But O’Malley asked the promotion for a chance to fight Marlon “Chito” Vera in a title defense. O’Malley had his wish granted after Vera showed enough during his win over Pedro Munhoz last time out to warrant a shot.

While O’Malley insisted he was OK if the two never fought again, that’s hard to believe. Much like Captain Ahab’s pursuit of Moby Dick, O’Malley badly wanted to chase down an opportunity to prove he’s better than Vera. Vera scored a TKO win over O’Malley at UfC 252 back in August 2020.

What made the win impressive was that it was the first time O’Malley couldn’t back someone off with his striking. Vera landed a leg kick that took away O’Malley’s mobility, and he could finish the fight with elbows and punches on the ground. Since then, Vera has put together a 5-2 record. 

O’Malley has now run his record up to 17-1 (1 no contest) as a professional. The best MMA news sites show that O’Malley claimed the bantamweight title with a TKO win over Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292. O’Malley is still a better striker than Vera.

However, Vera is effective with throwing leg kicks that can trouble O’Malley. Barring another freak injury off a kick, this one should go deep into the fight. O’Malley should be able to retain his belt.

Bets to consider: Over 4.5, O’Malley by decision, Parlay O’Malley ML

Is Benoît Saint Denis for Real?

There is no doubt that Benoît Saint Denis is a tough man inside and outside the octagon. The French Special Forces veteran is ready to try and prove he is a legitimate contender in the lightweight division. People have more questions about whether there is a hyphen in his last name or not –  a Google search shows it both ways – than about his toughness.

But it is shocking to see Saint Denis priced as a heavy favorite against former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. Yes, Poirier is coming off a head-kick knockout loss to Justin Gaethje last year. But Poirier has spent the past five years fighting the top dogs in the division.

Saint Denis is 13-1 in his career with one no-contest. In the competition that Saint Denis has fought, he has yet to beat a top-level guy. Saint Denis has a lot of power in his hands. He is also a capable grappler who can cause people trouble anywhere.

There is a chance this is his moment to cement his star. But in this spot, it is hard to not want to take a stab at the veteran fighter plus money. This co-main event is five rounds for some reason, but this one won’t go past the midway point in the fourth game.

Bets to consider: Under 3.5, Poirier ML

MVP Ready for His Close-Up

The UFC has long carved a reputation for not protecting most fighter’s records when they come in from another promotion. Michael “Venom” Page is ready to make a splash in the UFC after a successful run with Bellator. But Page’s introduction into the UFC isn’t one that will do him many favors.

The matchup isn’t difficult because Page can’t bet on Kevin Holland. MVP can certainly win this matchup. But Holland is an unorthodox fighter who is often unpredictable and employs strange methods while fighting. Still, Holland’s willingness to attack out of unorthodox positions makes him dangerous.

Page fought once for the interim welterweight title in Bellator but will need to string together wins, starting with Holland, before he can be taken seriously as a contender, according to MMA fighting latest updates.

Bets to consider: MVP by decision

Burns Hanging Around Top of the Rankings

Gilbert Burns, barring a miracle, won’t get another crack at the UFC welterweight title in his career. But that doesn’t make Burns any less reliable. This weekend, Burns will play the role of gatekeeper against Jake Della Maddalena.

Burns has been out of the octagon for nearly a year since his loss to Belal Muhammad last May. While Burns has been fighting the best the UFC has had to offer, he has lost three of his past six bouts. Della Maddelena lost the first two fights of his career but has won his past 16. Della Maddelena is coming off two split decision wins over Bassil Hafez and Kevin Holland.

With Della Maddelena struggling to put away lesser competition, this is a spot to back Burns at plus money.

Bets to consider: Over 2.5, Burns by decision

Yan Desperate for Win

Petr Yan may one day go down as having one of the most snake-bitten careers in UFC history. Everything has gone wrong for him since he won the vacant UFC bantamweight championship by beating José Aldo at UFC 259 in March 2021. In Yan’s first title defense, he lost the championship to Sterling after Sterling couldn’t continue due to injury.

That result kicks off a string where Yan has lost four of his past five fights. To be fair to Yan, two of those losses were a split decision. People are treating Yan’s fight with Song Yadong this weekend as another step forward in a request to claim the belt.

Yadong is a well-rounded fighter, according to MMA breaking news. 

Bets to consider: Yan ML, Yan by decision

Here’s a look at some quick picks on the fights not mentioned above:

  • Heavyweight, Curtis Blaydes (-120) vs. Jailton Almeida (Even money)
  • Women’s Flyweight, Katlyn Cerminara (+170) vs. Maycee Barber (-205)
  • Lightweight, Mateusz Gamrot (-455) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (+350)
  • Bantamweight, Pedro Munhoz (+205) vs. Kyler Phillips (-250)
  • Middleweight, Michel Pereira (-148) vs. Michał Oleksiejczuk (+124)
  • Heavyweight, Robelis Despaigne (-330) vs. Josh Parisian (+240)
  • Flyweight, Assu Almabayev (-470) vs. CJ Vergara (+360)
  • Light heavyweight, Philipe Lins (+110) vs. Ion Cuțelaba (-130)
  • Women’s flyweight, Joanne Wood (+195) vs. Maryna Moroz (-238)

Find all the latest boxing news and MMA breaking updates on boxingnews.com.

By Dean McHugh.

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