UFC 299: O'Malley vs. Vera Main Events UFC Betting Preview & Odds

09 Mar 24
News - UFC
UFC 299: O'Malley vs. Vera Main Events UFC Betting Preview & Odds

With UFC 300 right around the corner, UFC fans might have expected a lesser card at 299 with Dana White and company stuffing the landmark event with all of the top matchups. However, UFC 299 in Miami will instead be one of the most stacked so far in 2024, with double-digit ranked fighters taking to the octagon in Florida. The main event is a title fight, while the co-main event could easily be viewed as a title fight eliminator in the lightweight division. In the main event, bantamweight champ Sean O’Malley comes in as a massive moneyline favorite according to the top UFC betting sites and betting apps.


  • Sean O’Malley will get his revenge on Chito in his first title defense
  • “Sugar” won’t finish Marlon Vera, who’s never even been knocked down in his MMA career
  • Benoit Saint-Denis will announce himself with a submission win over Dustin Poirier
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UFC 299: Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera Main/Co-Main Event Betting Odds - March 9

Apart from “Sugar” Sean O’Malley looking to make the first title defense of his reign against No. 5 contender Marlon “Chito” Vera, the only man to beat O’Malley, we also have what promises to be a fight of the night candidate in the co-main event. No. 3 lightweight Dustin Poirier will try to force the powers that be to give him yet another title shot by beating up on No. 12 Benoit Saint-Denis, who comes in as a big-time favorite to take Poirier’s spot in the division’s top five. All odds provided by Sports Interaction.

( C ) Sean O’Malley vs. No. 5 Marlon Vera Bantamweight Championship Main Event Bout Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionTotal Rounds
Sean O’Malley-278+250+1,800+100O4.5 (-159)
Marlon Vera+220+500+1,500+600U4.5 (+120)

In the main event, “Sugar” Sean O’Malley (17-1, 1 NC) will look to start his bantamweight reign with a bang by stopping the only man to ever beat him in the octagon: No. 5 Marlon “Chito Vera” (23-8-1). In that first matchup, Chito filled in O’Malley’s lower leg with so many leg kicks that the champ’s ankle gave way underneath him, leading to the loss after he was unable to stand.

However, while Chito’s leg kicks certainly had an effect, it was one specific kick that hit O’Malley’s peroneal nerve that rendered him unable to continue. That’s unlikely to happen again in Miami.

There isn’t much for the Ecuadorian legend to hang his hat on here. O’Malley is a much better technical striker, using his unorthodox and unpredictable combinations and feints to confuse and frustrate his opponents. He’s also got great movement, not to mention Sugar has three inches of height, 1.5 inches of reach, and two years on Vera.

Vera does have the power advantage here, and he’s as durable as they come, but that durability has also led to his penchant for getting hit over and over. O’Malley usually gets finishes, but he can outpoint an opponent with the best of him, and with his quick hands and quick feet, that is likely how this fight is going to go down.

O’Malley will be able to touch Vera up using his reach and height advantages while bobbing and weaving and staying out of range of any Chito bombs. The Ecuadorian has never been finished or even knocked down in his 32-fight professional MMA career, however, so we don’t expect O’Malley to break that streak.

In terms of method of victory, +100 odds for O’Malley by decision are not great, but they’re still + odds for what seems like a lock result. The fight to go the distance at -149 odds are none too shabby either.

No. 3 Dustin Poirier vs. No. 12 Benoit Saint-Denis Lightweight Co-Main Event Bout Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionTotal Rounds
Dustin Poirier+170+350+1,000+700O2.5 (-115)
Benoit Saint-Denis-208+300+150+650U2.5 (-115)

This one has fight of the night written all over it. Whenever Dustin Poirier (29-8, 1 NC) has a big scrap, fireworks come with it, and with a scary up-and-comer in Frenchman Benoit Saint-Denis (13-1, 1 NC) coming for his spot in the division’s top five, “Diamond” will be looking to put on another show to prove that he’s still as relevant as ever in the lightweight division.

However, the trends will be working against the 35-year-old in this one: UFC fighters that are five or more years younger than their opponents win over 63 percent of the time. Considering Saint-Denis is only 28, that’s bad news for Mr. Poirier. The Frenchman also has a two-inch height and one-inch reach advantage on his opponent.

The other issue is that, while Poirier has always been known as a well-rounded fighter, his takedown defense has always been something of an Achilles heel, and that’s far from ideal considering he’s going against a submission artist in “God of War” who has earned nine of his 13 wins via submission.

Saint-Denis has finished his last five straight UFC opponents, while Poirier has lost two of his last three. The one place Poirier will have the advantage is in the stand up, where he can work off of his strong lead hand to give Saint-Denis some trouble, as the Frenchman’s boxing defense is far from elite. Saint-Denis does have massive knockout power though, so Poirier will need to be careful.

Ultimately, we think this fight is going to end before the bell, and it will be Saint-Denis on top of Poirier on the mat, resulting in Diamond’s fourth career submission loss. Saint-Denis’ +150 odds to win by submission are the shrewd move here, though the under on the fight’s 2.5 rounds prop at -115 are worth a look too, as Poirier hasn’t had a fight go the distance since 2020, and Saint-Denis has only heard the final bell once in his pro MMA career: his lone loss in his UFC debut.

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Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of their lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.