Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight sluggers Rob Font and Marlon Vera will go to war TONIGHT (Sat., April 30, 2022) at UFC Vegas 53 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Font put together an excellent four-fight win streak to climb up the ladder into the Top 5, marking himself an unlikely title threat. Unfortunately, his five-round war with Jose Aldo got away from him, setting Font back a couple steps ... and a disastrous weight cut yesterday doesn’t help, either (details here). A semi-recent loss to Aldo is also one of the few marks against Vera in the last few years, as he’s largely been crushing his opposition in bonus-winning fashion. Winner of eight of his last 10 bouts, Vera has been consistently improving since joining the roster in 2014 and now looks ready to make his run toward the top.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Cody Garbrandt (UFC Vegas 27), Marlon Moraes (UFC Vegas 17), Ricky Simon (UFC on ESPN 7), Sergio Pettis (UFC on FOX 31), Thomas Almeida (UFC 220), Douglas Silva de Andrade (UFC 213)
Key Losses: Jose Aldo (UFC Vegas 44), Raphael Assuncao (UFC 226), John Lineker (UFC 198), Pedro Munhoz (UFC Fight Night 119)
Keys to Victory: Hard-nosed and heavy-handed, Font is a talented boxer with an overall well-rounded game. Best known for his long jab and punishing right hand, Font has stopped eight of his opponents via knockout.
This is a fight between two men who really do their best work on the front foot. Case in point: both men have losses earlier in their careers where John Lineker simply bullied them, and they looked very uncomfortable skirting the edges of the Octagon. Though each man has grown his skill set significantly since, that stylistic preference remains.
As the puncher in this match up, Font should be even more motivated to walk down his opponent. He has to fight his way through the kicking range and find the pocket, where his combinations are generally a bit sharper. Font is tough enough to walk through plenty of kicks, but a better strategy would be looking to parry Vera’s front kicks then close ground and fire as Vera recovers his stance.
In addition, it’s important that Font take his right hand to the body. Vera likes to wear down his opponent’s with body work, so Font has to make a point to do attritional damage as well.
Key Wins: Sean O’Malley (UFC 252), Frankie Edgar (UFC 268), Davey Grant (UFC Vegas 29), Brian Kelleher (UFC on FOX 25), Frankie Saenz (UFC Fight Night 148)
Key Losses: Jose Aldo (UFC Vegas 17), Song Yadong (UFC on ESPN 8), Douglas Silva de Andrade (UFC Fight Night 125), John Lineker (UFC Fight Night 119)
Keys to Victory: Vera is one of the most violent men at his weight class. A finisher on the feet and on the canvas, Vera pushes a heavy pace and looks to break his opponent down until they crumble.
In this bout, Vera wants to limit time in the pocket. At distance, he’s the more powerful and varied kicker, and while he can surely hold his own in the boxing, Vera would be better off looking to clinch when Font tries to trade hands. Vera is quite nasty in close quarters, and it can be difficult to box an opponent who’s constantly hanging onto one’s neck.
From a bigger picture perspective, Vera’s great advantage in this fight is likely his durability. The man has fought huge power punches, and he’s never been stopped. Hell, I can’t even remember a time when Vera hit the canvas or was badly rocked? On the flip side, Font gets hurt on a fairly regular basis.
Vera is an incredibly opportunistic finisher with five rounds to work, so taking risks and trying to land big will likely pay off at some point.
One man leaves this main event slot in the title mix.
Font’s scale fail definitely throws a wrench into the plan. Had Font made weight and then won in clear fashion, he likely could have scored himself a fellow Top Five foe next. Instead, Font will likely have to fight down at least once more, which is always a risky proposition in a talent-rich division like Bantamweight.
As for Vera, his stakes remain the same. The Ecuadorian athlete is looking to break into the Top 5, and a victory over Font accomplishes that goal. On the whole, Vera has a fair bit of momentum behind him even while on a shorter win streak, simply because his victories have been consistently must-watch entertainment. If he scores the biggest scalp yet of his career tonight, expect a high-profile match up for Vera next against the likes of a Cory Sandhagen or Dominick Cruz.
At UFC Vegas 53, Rob Font and Marlon Vera will throw down in the main event. Which man remains standing when the dust settles?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 53 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN/ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 53: “Font vs. Vera” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.