Tim Welch, the head coach of Sean O’Malley has full confidence his fighter will defend his belt with ease on March 9 at UFC 299.
O’Malley is coming off a second-round TKO win over Aljamain Sterling to become the new bantamweight champion. In his first title defense, he will be rematching Vera, who is the only person to defeat ‘Suga’ as O’Malley suffered an ankle injury.
Although the fight happened in 2020, Welch doesn’t think Vera has improved at all which gives him and O’Malley so much confidence.
“I don’t think [he’s improved] a ton. I don’t think his confidence is going to be high. And the way he showed up against Cory Sandhagen, he got smoked by Cory Sandhagen,” Welch said on The MMA Hour. “He barely got past a little, short — no diss, but — Pedro Munhoz, who’s not very fast and big, he’s a little bit older. So I don’t think his confidence is super high.
“But Chito’s dangerous. He is really, really good at getting beat up and then winning, which is a dangerous thing. He’s very durable, he trains hard, he’s got a good coach, and he’s dangerous. Last time we fought him, we [underestimated] him. We thought he was just slow and clunky, and then that happened. So we’re not underestimating him this time,” Welch added.
Heading into the fight, Sean O’Malley is a sizeable -205 favorite to defeat Marlon Vera at UFC 299.
Tim Welch expects Sean O’Malley to KO Marlon Vera
With Welch thinking Vera hasn’t improved since their fight back in 2020, he has full confidence O’Malley will be able to make the fight easy.
According to Welch, he has confidence that O’Malley will not only beat Vera but will score a flashy KO in the process.
“I believe it’s going to be a viral knockout,” Welch said. “But like I said, I’m preparing Sean for a five-round war. I’m bringing the toughest people I could find in to spar him, going tons of rounds, trying to break him, trying to break his legs, kicking his legs, and we’re preparing him for a five-war, because Chito is really good at taking shots. He’s very durable. So we’re preparing him for five rounds, but I do believe in my heart that he’s going to be probably face-planted at the end of the fight.”
If O’Malley can get a viral KO, it would be a statement-making performance and only add to his star power.