By Matt Erickson |
August 16, 2020 12:05 am
Vera (18-6-1 MMA, 10-5 UFC) backed that up with a first-round stoppage of O’Malley (12-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC). The finish came after O’Malley appeared to suffer an injury to his right leg earlier in the round. When Vera had the opportunity to try to put O’Malley away, he took advantage for the TKO with 20 seconds left in the opening frame.
O’Malley was taken away from the cage on a stretcher after the first loss of his career.
The bantamweight bout was the UFC 252 co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.
“Count me out now – say something now,” Vera told Joe Rogan after the fight. “A lot of people have an opinion, but it doesn’t matter. … The sky’s the limit. … If you’re going to kick with a kicker, make sure you’re ready to kick. … The guy has a lot of hype – good for him. But he doesn’t have the dog I have inside. The dog I have inside is bigger than all these guys.”
The fighters traded low kicks early, then worked kicks to the knees on each other. But O’Malley landed several big kicks to Vera’s body each time Vera changed stances. O’Malley appeared to hurt a leg, and Vera kept working on low kicks to make him uncomfortable.
Vera put the pressure on and pushed him toward the cage. When O’Malley slipped and fell to his back, Vera went to the canvas with him. He got on top in O’Malley’s guard. He dropped a left hand on him, and then came back with three quick left elbows that forced referee Herb Dean to step in.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 252 results include:
Marlon Vera def. Sean O’Malley via TKO (elbows) – Round 1, 4:40
Jairzinho Rozenstruik def. Junior Dos Santos via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:47
Daniel Pineda def. Herbert Burns via TKO (elbows) – Round 2, 4:37
Merab Dvalishvili def. John Dodson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Vinc Pichel def. Jim Miller via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Virna Jandiroba def. Felice Herrig via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:44
Danny Chavez def. TJ Brown via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Livinha Souza def. Ashley Yoder via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Chris Daukaus def. Parker Porter via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:28
Kai Kamaka III def. Tony Kelley via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)