Dana White announced the first three UFC PPV headliners for 2024 and the final one he announced will feature a rematch. White announced that UFC 299 which is set to take place in March will be headlined by the rematch between bantamweight champion “Suga” Sean O’Malley (17-1, 1 NC) and Marlon “Chito” Vera (23-8-1).
As mentioned the event will take place in March and it will be the first title defense for O’Malley. This is the fight the champion called for and it’s the fight that he’s going to get. O’Malley has wanted this fight since he suffered the only loss in his professional career to Vera back in 2020.
Starting with that O’Malley win, Chito Vera has gone 6-2 inside the octagon. His two losses came against former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former interim title challenger Cory Sandhagen. After the Sandhagen loss, Vera was supposed to fight Henry Cejudo at UFC 292 in a title eliminator.
However, Cejudo got hurt and Vera fought Pedro Munhoz. Vera got the decision win and it wasn’t clear whether or not he’d get a shot at the title. After O’Malley dethroned Aljamain Sterling, he called for the Chito rematch and here we are.
Following his loss to Vera in 2020, O’Malley won three straight fights by knockout before taking on Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 in July 2022. They fought to a No Contest after O’Malley accidentally poked Munhoz in the eye. From there, O’Malley took on former bantamweight champion Petr Yan.
It was a very close fight, but O’Malley won a split decision earning him a shot at Aljamain Sterling. After a heated buildup, the two men fought at UFC 292. After a close first round, O’Malley caught Sterling flush with a counter right to start the second round and stopped him to become the bantamweight champion.
Now, he called his shot and he’s getting the fight he wanted all along for his first official title defense.