Winners And Losers From O’Malley Vs. Vera 2


UFC 299 took place on Saturday at Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida, and the stacked fight card lived up to all the pre-fight hype. In the main event, Sean O’Malley successfully defended his UFC bantamweight title in a masterful unanimous decision win over Marlon Vera. Meanwhile, in the evening’s co-main event, Dustin Poirier held off the charge of the up-and-coming Benoit Saint Denis, scoring a second-round knockout win

Below we look at the winners and losers from the UFC 299 fight card, which steamed on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

Winners

Sean O’Malley: Sean O’Malley did a good job fighting at distance against Marlon Vera in the main event of UFC 299. The defending UFC bantamweight champion used his length well and mixed up his striking targets and techniques while landing with a high level of accuracy. Meanwhile, Vera was slow to get started and struggled to find openings for his counters. Another reason Vera had a hard time countering was that his opponent was in and out before Vera could react.

O’Malley looked very good at UFC 299, and although he won’t be able to erase his 2020 loss to Vera, he did get his revenge on Saturday night.

UFC 299 might have been O’Malley’s finest performance as a high-level bantamweight.

Dustin Poirier: Things did not look good for Dustin Poirier in the early moments of his UFC 299 lightweight scrap opposite Benoit Saint Denis, but the veteran competitor weathered the storm and scored a big knockout win early in the second round.

At 35, and coming off a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje in July 2023, Poirier showed that he is not yet ready to give up his pursuit of an undisputed UFC title.

Poirier delivered a gutsy performance on Saturday, and it’ll be interesting to see what comes next for the former interim champ. His ability to hold on to his No. 3 ranking at lightweight was one of our pre-fight storylines to watch. Poirier answered that question with a resounding yes.

Michael “Venom” Page: Michael Page made his UFC debut on Saturday and made the most of that opportunity, beating Kevin Holland via unanimous decision.

Page used his karate stance to move in and out of range, landing strikes while avoiding Holland’s offense. That movement left Holland extending himself on the feet and putting himself in bad positions.

Page showed that there are some concerns about his defensive wrestling, but if he can use his speed and striking acumen to keep fights on the feet, Page could be a fighter to watch in the welterweight division, even though he turns 37 in under a month.

Jack Della Maddalena: Jack Della Maddalena was focused and poised throughout his matchup with the higher-ranked Gilbert Burns. The 27-year-old’s striking was on point throughout the fight. He used combinations and mixed up his targets well. Even when things were not going his way, thanks to Burns’ grappling skills, Della Maddalena never panicked. That composure led to him landing a knee in the third round after a scramble to get off the mat and setting up the ground strikes that finished the fight at the 3:43 mark of Round 3.

Della Maddalena showed a gap in his overall skills in this fight, struggling with his defensive grappling, but at just 27, the Australian has time to shore up that weakness in the future.

Look for Della Maddalena to jump up in the official UFC welterweight rankings following UFC 299, as he entered the fight at No. 11, and Burns was No. 4. He is now 7-0 in the UFC and 17-2 as a pro.

Also, it must be noted, that Burns was up 20-18 on two scorecards heading into the third round.

Gilbert Burns: Gilbert Burns lost to Jack Della Maddalena at UFC 299 on Saturday, but the veteran competitor should be commended for facing a dangerous fighter who was younger and lower ranked.

Things almost worked out for Burns, who was ahead on two of the scorecards when he was finished late in the third round.

Petr Yan: Former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan entered UFC 299 on a three-fight losing skid. After the first round of his matchup with Song Yadong, it looked as if Yan would fall to 0-4 since April 2022. That didn’t happen.

Yan struggled with Song’s feints over the first five minutes of the scrap, but he came back strong in the final 10 minutes of the fight, finding his range and timing and touching up Song with his strikes while also sticking timely takedowns and landing damaging ground strikes.

Yan entered the contest as the No. 4 fighter in the official bantamweight rankings. Following his unanimous decision win at UFC 299, look for him to at least hold onto that ranking.

Curtis Blaydes: There was a time not that long ago when Curtis Blaydes could have made a case for a shot at the UFC heavyweight title. He went 7-1 between March 2019 and July 2022, but a TKO loss to Sergei Pavlovich paused that talk. That talk may reignite following his knockout win over Almeida at UFC 299.

Almeida dominated the first round with his heavy top game and wrestling. In the second round, Blaydes was ready for a takedown attempt, sprawling and landing a litany of hammer fists to Almeida’s head. Those blows ended the contest 36 seconds into the second stanza.

After the fight, Blaydes called for a rematch with interim UFC heavyweight fight. The two met in July 2022, with Blaydes winning that contest after Aspinall suffered a knee injury 15 seconds into that scrap.

Maycee Barber: At UFC 299, Maycee Barber put her five-fight winning streak on the line against Katlyn Cerminara. The bout was her first since she defeated Amanda Ribas in June 2023. For Cerminara, UFC 299 marked her first competition since she lost to Manon Fiorot in October 2022. Both women entered the scrap ranked inside the top six of the women’s flyweight division, with Cerminara at No. 4 and Barber at No. 6.

Barber’s aggression carried the day and earned her a unanimous decision win. With her victory at UFC 299, the 25-year-old Barber has wins in her past six outings, and she is very likely to be a top-five fighter when the UFC rankings are updated next week.

Mateusz Gamrot: 39-year-old Rafael dos Anjos looked excellent in the opening moments of his matchup against 33-year-old Mateusz Gamrot, hurting his opponent on the feet before succumbing to a Gamrot takedown in the second half of the round. From that point on, Gamrot controlled the fight.

Gamrot did an admirable job of taking away Dos Anjos’ striking by closing the distance and using his wrestling skills to keep the former UFC lightweight champion fighting off takedown attempts and trying to break free from his control on the mat or against the fence.

Kyler Phillips: Kyler Phillips came on strong in the final minute of the first round of his scrap with Pedro Munhoz. He landed some heavy strikes and nice combinations and never gave up his advantage after that. Phillips employed good footwork and movement and showed an ability to throw and land his strikes from different angles. As a bonus, Phillips’ cardio was on point, and he never faded. Phillips also did an excellent job gauging his opponent’s offense and picking up his timing.

Phillips entered the bantamweight fight outside the top 15 of the UFC bantamweight division, while Munhoz checked in at No. 13 in those rankings. Phillips’ unanimous decision win over Munhoz, who has only lost to the best in the UFC’s bantamweight division, moved him to 6-1 under the UFC banner. Overall, UFC 299 was an excellent night for the 28-year-old Phillips.

Philipe Lins: Philipe Lins picked apart Ion Cutelaba with calf kicks, allowing him to take over the fight and earn a unanimous victory over Ion Cutelaba in a light heavyweight scrap. Lins, the PFL heavyweight tournament winner in 2018, is now on a four-fight winning streak in the UFC’s light heavyweight division.

Michel Pereira: Michel Pereira fought for the first time at middleweight in the UFC on Saturday, and he made quick work of Michal Oleksiejczuk. He hurt Oleksiejczuk with a right to the body and got him to the mat with some knees to the body before securing a rear-naked choke 61 seconds into the early prelim scrap.

The win was Pereira’s seventh straight UFC win, and it looks like he may be a problem for the UFC’s 185-pound division.

Robelis Despaigne: Heavyweight, Robelis Despaigne was our fighter to watch at UFC 299 He came into the UFC 4-0 with four first-round finishes, but his opponents in those fights were not top-caliber foes. On Saturday, Despaigne faced Josh Parisian, who had more UFC fights (six before UFC 299) than Despaigne had pro experience.

Despaigne, a high-level taekwondo practitioner, won a bronze medal in that sport for Cuba at the 2012 Olympics. At UFC 299, Despaigne dropped Parisian with a monster right hand while retreating across the Octagon and being off balance before finishing the fight in 18 seconds with ground strikes.

We didn’t learn anything new about Despaigne at UFC 299, but his win on Saturday will only increase the hype surrounding the 35-year-old heavyweight.

Assu Almabayev: Assu Almabayev was a massive -500 favorite over C.J. Vergara, so the results of their flyweight fight, Almabayev winning a unanimous decision, should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, Almabayev looks like a fighter to watch. The 30-year-old from Kazakhstan is an outstanding wrestler with a heavy ground game who can control where a fight occurs. Almabayev might only be two fights into his UFC career, but he needs to face much tougher competition because he deserves the opportunity to see what he can do in a tough division that’s in search of new blood.

Joanne Wood: Joanne Wood finished her UFC career with a big win at UFC 299, earning the split decision nod over Maryna Moroz, a fighter who defeated Wood back in 2015 via first-round armbar. What stood out about Wood’s performance was the spinning backfist that she landed with under a minute to go in the third round. That blow had Moroz staggering around the Octagon and just looking to get to the final horn.

Losers

Marlon Vera: Marlon Vera had no answer for the volume, footwork, and overall striking skills of UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley. Vera was able to take his opponent’s best strikes, but he could not produce sustained offense.

Benoit Saint Denis: Benoit Saint Denis took a huge leap up in competition at UFC 299, and while he had success, he did not have what it took to join the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Charles Oliveira, and Justin Gaethje and take out Dustin Poirier. Saint Denis is 28 years old. He entered Saturday’s card with 13 finishes in 13 wins, so there’s no reason to count him out after a loss to someone as accomplished as Dustin Poirier.

Kevin Holland: Kevin Holland didn’t have an answer for the offbeat style of Michael Page. Page’s striking and offense had Holland looking tentative, and his opponent’s speed and movement left him frustrated and missing many more strikes than he landed.

Song Yadong: Song Yadong’s two-fight winning streak ended at UFC 299 when he dropped a decision to former 135-pound champion Petr Yan.

Song looked good in the first round, but he could not sustain his pace, and when he slowed down, Yan took over, dominating the fight everywhere it went.

Despite being a member of the UFC roster since 2017, Song is only 26, so there is plenty of time for him to work on his shortcomings and bounce back from his UFC 299 loss.

Jailton Almeida: Jailton Almeida was 6-0 in the UFC heading into UFC 299. Almeida dominated many of his opponents, using his wrestling and ground control skills to rack up those wins. He used those skills to control the first round of his matchup opposite Curtis Blaydes, but when he shot for a takedown in the second round and absorbed numerous undefended hammer fists to the head, Almeida’s winning streak came to an abrupt end.

Pedro Munhoz: Fighting for the first time since he dropped a unanimous decision to Chito Vera in August 2023, Pedro Munhoz had a solid start to his bantamweight fight opposite Kyler Phillips, but the unranked Phillips took over and dominated the final 11 minutes of the contest. A member of the UFC since 2014, Munhoz is likely to fall out of the rankings following his loss to Phillips on Saturday night.

C.J. Vergara: C.J. Vergara has fought six times in the UFC. He missed weight three times and lost all three of the bouts in which he was heavy on the scale. Not only did Vergara miss weight for his fight against Assu Almabayev, but he was also dominated in the unanimous decision loss.

Maryna Moroz: Maryna Moroz had a good first round against Joanne Wood, getting an early takedown and picking up a lot of ground control time, while unloading some decent ground and pound. However, she could not get the fight to the mat in the final 10 minutes and dropped a split decision to Wood for her third straight setback.

UFC 299: Full Fight Card Results

Pay-Per-View Card

Sean O’Malley defeats Marlon Vera via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-44)

Dustin Poirier defeats Benoit Saint Denis via KO (punch to head at distance) at 2:32 of Round 2

Michael Page defeats Kevin Holland via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Jack Della Maddalena defeats Gilbert Burns via TKO (elbows to head on ground) at 3:34 of Round 3

Petr Yan defeats Song Yadong via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Prelims

Curtis Blaydes defeats Jailton Almeida via TKO (punches to head) at 0:36 of Round 2

Maycee Barber defeats Katlyn Cerminara via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, 29–28)

Mateusz Gamrot defeats Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 30–27)

Kyler Phillips defeats Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, 30–27)

Early prelims

Philipe Lins defeats Ion Cutelaba via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 29–28)

Michel Pereira defeats Michal Oleksiejczuk via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:01 of Round 1

Robelis Despaigne defeats Josh Parisian via TKO (punch to head) at 0:18 of Round 1

Assu Almabayev defeats C.J. Vergara via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, 30–27)

Joanne Wood defeats Maryna Moroz via split decision (28–29, 29–28, 29–28)



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