Umar Nurmagomedov predicts Sean O’Malley smashes Marlon Vera at UFC 299

LAS VEGAS – Umar Nurmagomedov thinks Sean O'Malley avenges his loss to Marlon Vera at UFC 299.

Bantamweight champion O’Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) makes his first title defense in a rematch against Vera (21-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC) in the March 9 headliner at Kaseya Center in Miami.

A leg injury caused O’Malley to lose his first fight with Vera in August 2020 by TKO, marking his only career loss. Nurmagomedov thinks O’Malley was having his way, until Vera kicked him in his peroneal nerve at the end of Round 1 and finished him on the ground.

“I think Sean O’Malley is going to smash this guy because their last fight, ‘Chito’ won because O’Malley got injured,” Nurmagomedov told MMA Junkie and other reporters at UFC Fight Night 238 media day. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in this fight if he (didn’t get) injured, because until he was injured, O’Malley was smashing him.”

Nurmagomedov (16-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) will look to continue his ascent up the bantamweight ladder when he welcomes Bekzat Almakhan (17-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) to the octagon in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 238 (ESPN+) main card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Top contender Merab Dvalishvili (17-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) was declared as No. 1 contender after outlasting Henry Cejudo at UFC 298, and Nurmagomedov was impressed with his performance.

“Very nice – great performance,” Nurmagomedov said. “When Cejudo was in his prime, I think (Dvalishvili) can never beat Cejudo. But we will not know. We can’t check this. He did a good job. He pushed, he got ahead, ahead, ahead, and took a nice victory. I can just congratulate him.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 238.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie