Tim Welch prefers Sean O’Malley to whoop Marlon Vera, ‘piece him apart’ for five rounds instead of knockout

Tim Welch would rather see UFC bantamweight champion Sean O'Malley dominate Marlon Vera than knock him out.

O’Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) runs things back with Vera (21-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC) for his first title defense in Saturday’s UFC 299 (pay-per-view, ESPNews, ESPN+) headliner at Kaseya Center in Miami.

O’Malley is eager to avenge the lone loss of his career to Vera in August 2020, which he’s adamant was a fluke given he was injured in the final moments. His head coach, Welch, thinks dominating Vera from bell to bell would make a bigger statement than an early finish.

“I mean, if he knocked him out, cool,” Welsh told Submission Radio. “But it would be more satisfying going five rounds and having Sean piece him apart the whole time, break down his body, take him down, and just beat his ass and break him physically for five rounds. People think, ‘Oh my God, he gets tired, he has a cardio problem.’ It’s like, you’ve never fought him.

“He decides the pace. And they’re like, ‘Hey, look how tired he got against Petr.’ It’s like, because that fight was a sprint from the beginning, and it was such a high-paced fight. The paces are different in five rounds. So, it’d be satisfying for me – and I know he’s got the conditioning to do it – to go out there for 25 minutes and just make ‘Chito’ look bad and whoop his ass for 25 minutes and break him.”

Welch hasn’t seen any vast improvements in Vera’s game. “Chito” is coming off a decision win over Pedro Munhoz but had a lackluster performance in a loss to Cory Sandhagen in the fight prior.

“I mean, after watching him vs. Cory Sandhagen, I know that was probably a bad night. I know he had a fight canceled about three weeks prior, so he could have been over trained for that fight,” Welch said. “I think that’s why he looked so bad against Cory Sandhagen. But it doesn’t look like he really got leaps better anywhere.

“He had that close fight with Pedro Munoz. But like I said, he’s dangerous and he’s durable and he’s got a strong mind, and a strong mind and being durable can get you really far in fighting. I just don’t think at this day and age, I don’t think you can be the type of athlete ‘Chito’ is and become a champion.”

Former champion Aljamain Sterling, whom O’Malley knocked out to claim the bantamweight title, advised Vera to make it a “boring” fight. He also said he heard Vera had a bad camp, which Michael Bisping denied after speaking to Vera’s head coach, Jason Parillo. Welch hopes that won’t be the case.

“I hope ‘Chito’ comes and tries to make it a fight,” Welch said. “I hope he tries to come and make it a fight. If he’s going to sit there and try to go point for point with Sean for five rounds, he’s the slower guy. If he did have a bad camp, he might be happy with just going to a decision and losing. As long as he doesn’t get finished, he might be happy with that if he had a terrible camp.

“I hope he comes to win, comes to win, comes to try to f*ck Sean up and make it a fight. Not make it a boring fight where he’s standing, like I said, going point for point. Because if he does go point for point, it’s like, OK, Sean’s going to do that. He’s just as long, he’s faster, he’s more accurate. He’s going to win a five round decision then.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie