After falling short at UFC 299, what’s next for Chito Vera?

MMA: UFC 299- Vera vs OMalley
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the main event of UFC 299, the bantamweight title was on the line. Marlon “Chito” Vera (23-9-1) was looking to capture the bantamweight title was also picking up his second win over the champion “Suga” Sean O’Malley (18-1, 1 NC).

These two originally fought back in 2020 with Vera picking up the TKO win. Early in the first round of that fight, Chito had landed the perfect calf kick which hindered O’Malley’s movement. Ultimately, O’Malley went down and Vera capitalized to get the TKO win. O’Malley has been on record saying the loss for him was a fluke and he always refers to himself as undefeated.

Both men had a lot to prove on Saturday night. O’Malley wanted to prove he was the better fighter and Chito Vera wanted to prove that the first fight wasn’t just a fluke. Well, the fight was incredibly one-sided on Saturday, but it was not in the favor of Chito Vera.

Vera is normally a slow starter and that combined with O’Malley’s speed and range control did him in from the opening bell. Vera had moments here and there, but it was all about the Suga Show at UFC 299. Vera had success when he pressed forward and made things dirty, but those moments were few and far between. At the end of five rounds, it was a clean sweep for O’Malley on the scorecards.

What’s next after UFC 299?

Marlon Vera is a sensational fighter, but he only got this title shot because of his win over Sean O’Malley back in 2020. Vera did have a solid four-fight winning streak going on entering 2023, but then he lost a lopsided decision against Cory Sandhagen. He did get a win over Pedro Munhoz to bounce back, but usually a win over Pedro Munhoz doesn’t net you a title shot.

Now, having lost in lopsided fashion, he’s going to need a few big wins before he can get another UFC title shot. So, what should be next for the top bantamweight from Ecuador? Honestly, I love the idea of Vera facing off against Henry Cejudo next.

Cejudo is coming off a loss to Merab Dvalishvili last month at UFC 298. Chito and Cejudo were originally supposed to fight last August, but Cejudo pulled out with an injury and that’s how we got the Munhoz fight. They are right next to each other in the rankings and it just seems like it makes a lot of sense for both men.

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