Sean O’Malley thinks the UFC Apex’s cage will affect Cory Sandhagen against Marlon Vera.
Bantamweights Sandhagen (15-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) and Vera (20-7-1 MMA, 14-6 UFC) face off Feb. 18 at a UFC Fight Night headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
With Sandhagen’s constant movement, O’Malley thinks the smaller cage won’t play in his favor.
“The only difference is the cage – the small cage,” O’Malley said on his YouTube channel. “The reason: The Apex doesn’t have a big cage and it makes zero sense. The big cage is – what? – 40 percent bigger than the small cage? Like, quite a bit – significantly bigger. That plays a role.
“I think it gives ‘Chito’ (Vera) a pretty big advantage. I don’t know if advantage is the right word, but a disadvantage, rather, for Cory.”
O’Malley’s lone loss came in a TKO stoppage to Vera at UFC 252 in August 2020. Naturally, O’Malley hopes “Chito” wins so it could build up a highly anticipated potential rematch.
With a win over Petr Yan at UFC 280, O’Malley cemented himself as No. 1 contender. Vera has been on a roll with four straight wins – including knockouts of former champions Frankie Edgar and Dominick Cruz.
“I want ‘Chito’ to win, obviously,” O’Malley said. “Because then if that is the case, me vs. ‘Chito’ for the belt is massive. Or I go out there and beat whoever that is, and then first title defense against ‘Chito.’”
Sean O’Malley: UFC Apex puts Cory Sandhagen at ‘a disadvantage’ vs. Marlon Vera