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It didn’t go Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera’s way on Saturday night.

The Ecuadorian veteran, competing in the first championship fight of his decade-long UFC career, was soundly outpointed by bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley in their bout to contest the promotion’s 135-pound title, losing by lopsided unanimous decision in a 25-minute fight dominated by the champ’s pinpoint striking.

For Vera, who was 5-1 in his past six heading into the fight including wins against icons like Dominick Cruz and Frankie Edgar, the result means that he will drop a few rungs on the title contention ladder — even if his series with O’Malley now stands at one win apiece following his August 2020 win over the champion.

Vera’s face was wearing some damage after the fight in Miami, Florida on Saturday night, and as such he was absent from the post-fight presser.

However, Vera has since taken to social media where he admitted that the defeat is a bitter pill to swallow — and thanked the Ecuadorian community in Miami for their vocal support of his title bid.

“I dream about last night my whole life and fell short at the end of the day. I will be back thanks to my family and team for being by my side,” he wrote in a post to Instagram, before adding (in Speanish after translation): “The love of Ecuador was felt more than ever. Thanks for supporting me that way I will be back stronger. The belt will be mine one day. Thank you.”

In a separate post to X (formerly Twitter), Vera wrote: “I’m not going to lie, it hurts not achieving the goal, but the love and support from my country was something historic. You don’t understand the motivation and ambition I have to continue climbing. Thank you Ecuador, your presence was felt and I will bounce back.”