MISSOULA — The Suga Show is back.
Helena native "Suga" Sean O'Malley, the UFC's bantamweight champion, is set to defend his title for the first time at UFC 299 in March, UFC president Dana White announced on Monday afternoon.
O'Malley is set to rematch Marlon "Chito" Vera for the title. The date and venue for the fight have yet to be announced.
The two mixed martial artists met back at UFC 252 in August of 2020 where Vera defeated O'Malley via TKO in the first round. In the fight, O'Malley appeared to injure his leg and went down to the mat where Vera finished O'Malley with ground and pound before the referee stopped the fight.
It was O'Malley's first and only loss in his professional career.
Since, O'Malley (17-1, 1 no contest) has rattled off five wins in six fights, the sixth being the no contest against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276. Back in August at UFC 292 in Boston, Massachusetts, the Montana product defeated Aljamain Sterling by second-round TKO to win the bantamweight championship, becoming the first Treasure State native to win a UFC title.
O'Malley, 29, is 9-1 in the UFC as well as the no contest, and has grown into one of the largest stars in the UFC promotion.
Vera, a native of Ecuador who fights out of California, is 23-8-1 as a professional MMA fighter and has gone 5-2 since meeting with O'Malley. Vera also fought Munhoz at UFC 292 where he won by unanimous decision. Vera, 30, is 15-7 in the UFC.
The fight will be Vera's first title shot in his UFC career.