Cory Sandhagen: Chito Vera ‘had no business being in the cage’ with Sean O’Malley at UFC 299

Cory Sandhagen has some harsh words for Marlon Vera.

This past weekend, successfully defended his UFC bantamweight title, dominating “Chito” Vera for 25 minutes at UFC 299. Given that it was widely believed that Vera got the title shot due to his rivalry with O’Malley and not because he was the most deserving challenger, the one-sided nature of the fight was a tough look, and Sandhagen didn’t pull any punches when breaking down the fight on his YouTube channel.

“Chito obviously had no business being in the cage with O’Malley,” Sandhagen said. “Really tough showing by Chito. Awesome performance by O’Malley. You’ve got to give the guy all the credit in the world even though he was fighting like a homeless-looking Chito. …

“I’m going to try to spend this whole breakdown not s******* on Chito the whole time, but it’s probably going to turn into me s******* on Chito the whole time. That fight really frustrated me because it was one, unbelievably uncompetitive. Two, I feel like a dummy for thinking Chito was going to do better because that’s almost literally what all of his fights look like unless he gets some type of knockout. And three, I just think it’s not that cool that Chito even got that opportunity to begin with, because like I said, that’s what we all should have seen coming. I don’t know why I bought into the Chito hype. That was really stupid of me.”

Sandhagen also has his own history with Vera, dominating the Ecuadorian over five rounds just a year ago. And in his breakdown of the fight, Sandhagen likens what O’Malley did with what he did to stymie Vera’s offense.

“O’Malley won almost the same kind of way I beat Chito, except he hit Chito a lot harder and he hit Chito a lot more,” Sandhagen said. “So good on him for doing that. Instead of overwhelming Chito with [wrestling] shots and stuff like that, he started overwhelming Chito with a ton of feints. Didn’t give him the same look every single time. … O’Malley kept it super dynamic the entire time, didn’t give him the same look too many times in a row, and that’s why he won.”

Sandhagen went into further detail about some of the specific things O’Malley did well in the fight, before ending his video addressing the bantamweight title picture and the fact that following UFC 299, O’Malley called for a champ vs. champ fight against featherweight champion Ilia Topuria.

“Good on O’Malley,” Sandhagen said. “Congrats to the champ. I don’t know who he’s going to fight next. Hopefully he doesn’t leave the division and then start going for double-champ status. I think that’s kind of whack right now. But we’ll see what the UFC decides.”

Whoever O’Malley fights next, it seems unlikely that it will be Sandhagen, who instead appears to be targeting a fight with rising contender Umar Nurmagomedov.

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