Sean O’Malley admits he was surprised by Marlon Vera’s one-sided loss to Cory Sandhagen: “He just outclassed him”

By Josh Evanoff - March 28, 2023

UFC bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley was surprised by Marlon Vera’s performance over the weekend.

Sean O'Malley, Marlon Vera

‘Chito’ returned to the octagon in the main event of UFC San Antonio on Saturday. Heading into the contest, Vera was riding a four-fight winning streak with knockout wins over names such as Frankie Edgar and Dominick Cruz in that stretch. Sadly for the bantamweight contender, that streak ended over the weekend.

In the main event of UFC San Antonio, Cory Sandhagen coasted to a split-decision victory. ‘The Sandman’ dominated Vera on the feet, but also on the mat. While many gave Sandhagen a shot in the matchup, many were surprised at the ease with which he won the contest.

The victory also surprised Sean O’Malley, as he stated on his podcast. ‘Sugar’ has been out of action since his split-decision win over Petr Yan last October, and is currently awaiting a title shot. Before UFC San Antonio, Sandhagen admitted he was hoping to face O’Malley next.

Nonetheless, O’Malley was surprised at Vera’s loss in the five-round main event. The bantamweight stated that while his former rival has skills, he didn’t show them against Sandhagen.

Cory Sandhagen, Marlon Vera

Sean O’Malley discusses Cory Sandhagen vs. Marlon Vera

“I think Cory just outclassed him.” Sean O’Malley stated on the TimboSugarShow. “…I don’t think anything was wrong with ‘Chito’, I think Cory is that f*cking good. That style beats ‘Chito’, ‘Chito’ is 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, wrestled more than I thought he would.”

He continued, “You know what surprised me a lot? Those first two rounds when Cory took ‘Chito’ down, he didn’t look like he was trying to get his guard back. He didn’t look at wrist control, getting 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.”

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Cory Sandhagen Marlon Vera Sean O'Malley UFC UFC San Antonio