Sean O’Malley open to Chito Vera trilogy after UFC 299, Vera threatens to ‘take his head off’

Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera have had bad blood for years, and it doesn’t look like that will end on Saturday.

The bantamweight rivals face off in this weekend’s UFC 299 main event at Kaseya Center in Miami, but on Thursday they had the chance to trade insults at a pre-fight press conference.

O’Malley, the reigning champion, threw the first shot, explaining that his cool demeanor was due to his confidence that he will avenge his previous loss to “Chito.”

“I’m very calm going into this fight,” O’Malley said. “It’s easy to be calm when you know you’re going to knock someone the f*** out.”

Vera is the only fighter to hold a win over O’Malley. They first fought in August 2020 at UFC 252, where Vera scored a first-round knockout of “Sugar.” In that bout, O’Malley was visibly hampered by a leg injury prior to Vera finishing him with strikes on the ground.

Should O’Malley even the score, is he open to a trilogy bout with Vera?

“I wouldn’t mind knocking him out two times,” O’Malley said when asked Thursday.

A large Ecuadorian contingent has been present in Miami to support Vera, and they peppered O’Malley with “Chito” chants when he spoke. Vera basked in the good vibes and spoke glowingly of his championship opportunity and his time with the UFC.

“I’m ready to go,” Vera said. “I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’ve been doing everything, I had the long road, but I’m here and I’m going to dig deep for that gold.”

“This is a life-changing opportunity,” he continued. “I worked so hard for this moment. It’s been 10 years in the company and I’ve been loved every single second of my career. I’m going to fight for the UFC gold, I love to be here.”

Asked if he’s confident that he’ll remain champion at UFC 299 and afterward, O’Malley took a moment to snipe at his fellow bantamweight stars, including No. 1 contender Merab Dvalishvili.

“Chito’s a f****** piñata, Petr Yan’s one fight away from bare-knuckle boxing, and Merab’s nose is more crooked than Joe Biden,” O’Malley said. “Let’s f****** go, baby.”

The champion was later asked if he’d be wary of Vera’s leg kicks given how the first fight turned out, to which he responded that it’s Vera who will have to watch out for his offense.

“I’m going to just kick him in the lips,” O’Malley said. “He can kick my legs all he wants, but my leg’s going to be on his f****** chin.”

Neither O’Malley nor Vera appeared to be too riled up during Thursday’s presser and both drew plenty of support from the crowd, with dueling chants reflecting the popularity of the headliners.

If there have been any distractions that could potentially throw Vera off on fight night, that’s news to him.

“Everything is mental in life,” Vera said. “I’m prepared, I’m ready, I’m feeling good. Honestly, it’s how you handle it. The rest, f*** the noise.”

“I’ve prepared,” he later added. “I’m very strong. And I’m going to take his head off.”