UFC 299: Expert picks and best bets for O'Malley vs. Vera 2

"Suga" Sean O'Malley puts his UFC bantamweight title on the line when he takes on Marlon "Chito" Vera in the main event of UFC 299 on Saturday night. Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC men's bantamweight champion Sean O'Malley looks to avenge his only professional loss and earn his first title defense when he takes on Marlon "Chito" Vera in the main event of UFC 299 on Saturday at the Kaseya Center in Miami (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV, with prelims at 8 p.m. on ESPNews/ESPN+ and early prelims at 6 p.m. on ESPN+).

O'Malley (17-1, 1 NC) has bounced back well since losing to Vera in 2020. The champ has beaten all but two of his six opponents during that time by knockout, including a second-round TKO win over Aljamain Sterling in August to claim the title. O'Malley is No. 10 in ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings.

Vera (23-8-1) has won five of his past six bouts. His only loss during that stretch was a split decision to Cory Sandhagen in March 2023. Vera is ranked No. 8 in ESPN's bantamweight rankings.

In the co-main event, two-time lightweight title challenger Dustin Poirier takes on rising contender Benoit Saint Denis. Poirier, ranked No. 5 in ESPN's lightweight rankings, enters the fight following a second-round knockout loss to Justin Gaethje last July. Saint Denis, unranked by ESPN, has won his past five fights via finish (3 knockouts, 2 submissions).

Marc Raimondi spoke to Fight Ready MMA coach Santino DeFranco to get his perspective on the UFC main event. ESPN's betting experts Reed Kuhn and Ian Parker add their insights and analysis on the main event and other intriguing bets they like on the card.

Editor's note: Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Men's bantamweight title fight: Sean O'Malley vs. Marlon Vera