While it was a back-and-forth striking battle throughout, O’Malley eventually started limping noticeably and Vera seized on his opponent’s injury after the fight hit the floor. The former Ultimate Fighter: Latin America contender blasted O’Malley with some severe ground and pound before earning the stoppage with the end coming at 4:40 in the first round.
“Say something now,” Vera said after he was seemingly counted out heading into Saturday night. “A lot of people have a comment, have an opinion, it doesn’t matter. The sky’s the limit. I’m a motivated man. The dog I have inside is bigger than all these guys.”
As patient as ever on the feet, O’Malley was methodical with his attacks as the fight got underway as he began chipping away at Vera with a series of stiff kicks to the leg. In return, Vera looked to close the distance while attempting to trap O’Malley against the cage.
Midway through the opening round, O’Malley began favoring his right leg after it appeared that he either rolled his ankle or suffered some kind of injury to his foot. Whatever happened, O’Malley was hampered as he began stepping gingerly on his right leg and Vera wasted no time jumping on the opportunity to finish the fight.
After another exchange on the feet, O’Malley slipped to the ground and Vera followed him to the mat where he unloaded a huge punch followed by a devastating elbow. When the second shot landed, referee Herb Dean made the decision to rescue O’Malley from further punishment as he stopped the fight.
As soon as the fight ended, O’Malley was in agony on the canvas as he clutched his leg before being wheeled out of the APEX facility on a gurney. It was an unfortunate end to O’Malley’s undefeated streak but Vera did everything necessary to earn the stoppage win.
Following a controversial loss in his last fight, Vera bounced back in emphatic fashion with the finish in the UFC 252 co-headliner. As for O’Malley, he will now seek medical treatment for his injured leg after suffering the first defeat of his career.