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I was hesitant to get on the “Suga Show” bandwagon, but after seeing how O’Malley handled respected veteran Eddie Wineland and the underappreciated Jose Quinonez before that, I’m liking his chances heading into a favorable matchup with “Chito.” Yes, Vera is an absolute slugger at 135 pounds and the kind of opponent who only gets stronger as a fight progresses, but I also think he’s so confident in his chin that he might wade into a clean shot from O’Malley that will change the whole complexion of the fight.
Maybe O’Malley will get the chance to show off his ground skills that he’s often talked up, because we certainly know that when Vera hits the mat he’s just as likely to finish there as he is on the feet. Don’t expect O’Malley to play around much in the grappling department though.
More likely, O’Malley makes Vera miss enough to frustrate him into making a mistake, allowing O’Malley to add another big finish to his growing highlight reel.
Junior dos Santos vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Going into this matchup, one could argue that Junior dos Santos is a superior all-around striker to Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Then again, I would have said the same about his matchups with Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou and both of those bouts ended in calamity for “Cigano.”
Dos Santos just doesn’t have the speed anymore to stay ahead of this next generation of heavyweights. There, I said it. Are we all happy now? Much like his contemporary Alistair Overeem, dos Santos is more than capable of dazzling with impressive stretches of technical striking, but without the ability to explode and lay the hammer down, the 36-year-old dos Santos is in constant danger of his more athletic opponents zeroing in on him and landing a KO blow.
Rozenstruik caught Overeem in the final seconds of a fight that he was losing and it’s that finishing threat that has me picking him to take out dos Santos too. He can afford to take a few shots from dos Santos, I’m not sure how many of Rozenstruik’s power punches dos Santos absorbs before crumbling.