Marlon Vera Interested In Potential Bouts With Cory Sandhagen, Merab Dvalishvili Next

Off the back of an impressive performance against former UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar at UFC 268 last weekend, the newly #11 ranked bantamweight contender, Marlon Vera has expressed an interest in improving on his winning streak against either recent interim title challenger, Cory Sandhagen — or the surging, Merab Dvalishvili.

Featuring on the main card of UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden prior to a championship doubleheader, Vera was likely cruising to a unanimous decision victory over the Toms River native — before springing with an impressive third round front kick knockout over the veteran former gold holder.

The victory came as the Ruca trainee’s second consecutive victory — following a prior unanimous judging triumph against two-time opponent, Davey Grant at UFC Vegas 29 in June earning Fight of the Night honors.

The Ecuadorian holds a prior first round knockout victory over the highly-touted, Sean O’Malley in a high-profile UFC 262 co-headliner in August of last year — before seeing his bantamweight winning run halted by former featherweight gold holder, Jose Aldo in December at UFC Vegas 17.

Reflecting on his victory over Edgar at UFC 268 during a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour — Vera called for a pairing with either the aforenoted, Sandhagen or Dvalishvili next time out as he attempts to crack the bantamweight top-10.

Literally, how the situation is, there’s only two guys ahead or that are free, which are Merab [Dvalishvili] and [Cory] Sandhagen,‘ Vera said. “I can fight any of those two tomorrow.

Whilst Dvalishvili had found suitors hard to come by during his Octagon run due to his sheer dominance and wrestling ability, the Chone native, Vera appears to welcome the challenge the Georgia native brings.

He’s a wrestler,” Vera said when speaking of Dvalishvili. “I would be more scared if he was an Anthony Johnson type of f*cking guy. Anthony Johnson touch you, you don’t grow a beard. He’s a bad motherf*cker but I understand that. We all are.

In Sandhagen’s most recent outing, he co-headlined UFC 267 two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, UAE — dropping a unanimous decision loss to Petr Yan in an interim title fight — while Dvalishvili rallied to stop Marlon Moraes at UFC 266 — with a second round ground strikes knockout which earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.


Ross Markey

An MMA fan since 2011 and covering the sport since 2016, Ross Markey has built himself into a top journalist in combat sports.

First catching on to MMA and the UFC in particular back when Brock Lesnar fought Shane Carwin, and even more so when he fought Alistair Overeem back in 2011, Ross really became enchanted with the sport from late-2013-2014 onwards.

He initially began covering MMA in tandem with football back in June 2016 just as he was finishing school. The first real event he covered on his own personal blog was UFC 200 in July of that year during international fight week. His content consisted of previews and event and results recaps. In between jobs, Ross produced content on the side before transitioning to a full-time position back in early 2019.

He initially started creating content on his own blog back in June of 2016, before becoming a staff writer, lead writer, and editor for websites such as MMA Motion, Combat Insiders, Fight Bananas, FightPost, Severe MMA, MMA Power Hour, FightBook MMA, LowKick MMA, and of course, Current MMA.

Back in 2019, Ross received the award Top Journalist of 2019 for FightBook MMA, before he was then promoted to the website's lead writer. Following a six-month period at MMA Power Hour, he was also employed as a junior editor for the company. Throughout his time in the industry, he has interviewed the likes of Colby Covington, Rhys McKee, Pedro Carvalho, Felicia Spencer, Eryk Anders, Jussier Formiga, Danni Neilan, Frans Mlambo, Alex Lohore, Blaine O'Driscoll, Modestas Bukauskas, Ross Houston, Jon Fitch, and Richie Smullen.

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