“Suga” Sean O’Malley Defends Bantamweight Title at UFC 299

Current bantamweight champion Sean O'Malley won his first title defense in a rematch against Marlon Vera, UFC 299.

In his first title defense, bantamweight champion “Suga” Sean O’Malley displayed a masterclass performance in a rematch against Marlon Vera at UFC 299, earning him a unanimous decision victory in Miami on Saturday.

The first round consisted of the two fighters feeling out their opponent’s rhythm. O’Malley stayed ahead on points with repeated body kicks, strong defense and repeatedly switching stances to allow for more movement. The “Sugar Show” continued to dominate the next two rounds with powerful one-two combinations and quick jabs, continuously scoring points. His speed ultimately got the best of Vera, who was even rocked by a knee to the face towards the end of the second. It wasn’t until the fourth round that Chito put on his best performance against the champion, brawling and throwing reckless shots until O’Malley shut him down with offensive pressure. With Vera being O’Malley’s only career loss in 2020, the champion reinstated his masterclass level of fighting and advanced skill set with overall control of the fight, winning by the judges’ scorecards by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-44).  

The co-main event displayed an incredible knockout victory in the lightweight division by Dustin Poirier against France’s Benoît Saint-Denis. Despite the Frenchman tiring his opponent in the first round with heavy knees to the body and his fast paced offense, Poirier came back in the second round with power shots to rock Saint-Denis. Halfway through the second round, Poirier landed a left hand which rocked Saint-Denis, followed by a right hook just seconds later which sent the Frenchman to the canvas. Poirier closed the deal with a right hand while his opponent was down, giving him the win by knockout at 2:32 of the second round. 

Michael “Venom” Page put on a show in the welterweight match up against Kevin Holland, also winning by the judges’ scorecards. Although Holland applied strong offensive pressure towards the beginning of the fight, “MVP”’s comfort in the octagon allowed him control over the mental game of this fight. Progressively throughout the three rounds, Page would push or trip Holland to get him down on his back, mocking or talking to him while doing so. This created visible frustration by Holland since he was also forced to fight Page’s ego. Nonetheless, this played to Page’s advantage along with his confidence and advanced fight strategy to win the fight by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

This main event fight card included further notable performances, including Jack Della Maddalena‘s comeback against Gilbert Burns in the third round. After sending a hard knee to the body which sent Burns to the canvas, Della Maddalena followed with countless face shots to finish the fight. As winner by knockout at 3:43 of the third round, this victory marked the fighter’s 17th straight win and entry into the top 5 rankings. Petr Yan also demonstrated a strong performance against Song Yadong to open the main card, utilizing an aggressive offensive strategy to win the judges’ scorecards by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) and end his three-fight losing streak.