Marlon Vera is the only fighter to have beaten Sean O’Malley so far in his MMA career, and though ‘Suga’ has been eager to get a rematch with him ever since, he admits that ‘Chito’ was simply outclassed by Cory Sandhagen in their headlining fight at UFC On ESPN 43 on Saturday night.
“I think Cory just outclassed him,” O’Malley said of Sandhagen’s convincing decision victory on his podcast. “I do think the big cage – it’s like if you’re playing a basketball game and you’re like, ‘Well, let’s just play half-court.’ That’s pretty much the difference between the small cage and the big cage. It’s 40 percent bigger, so it’s like a different playing ground you’re playing with. I think it would have favored ‘Chito’ a lot more in the smaller cage.
“I don’t think anything was wrong with ‘Chito.’ I think Cory’s that f*cking good, and that style beats ‘Chito.’ ‘Chito’s’ not very fast. He’s f*cking super good, super durable, well-rounded everywhere. Cory was focused for 25 minutes, did what he needed to do, wrestled more than I thought he would.”
“You know what surprised me a lot was the first two rounds when Cory took ‘Chito’ down,” O’Malley continued. “It didn’t look like he was trying to get his guard back, didn’t look like he was trying to wrist control and get up. I was super surprised at the lack of skills – I don’t think he’s lacking those skills, but he wasn’t using them. He just laid on his back. … ‘Chito’ looked like he was just giving up that position.”
With Vera’s four-fight winning streak now over, and current No.1 contender O’Malley now unbeaten in his last five fights it may be that his interest in getting that rematch may have cooled for now, but it’s still unclear what comes next for him with current champion Aljamain Sterling still expected to fight the returning former double-champ Henry Cejudo next.