By all metrics, Rob Font hits damn hard. He’s not a next-level athlete, but Font stands out because he puts together quality form in his punches and combinations with considerable pop. Last night, he landed nearly 300 significant strikes, yet Marlon Vera never seemed affected by his opponent’s strikes.
It almost defies what’s possible. You cannot let Rob Font punch you 271 times (per the latest numbers) without there being consequences. Font is not pillow-fisted! He’s finished more of his UFC wins than not, and even when it takes all 15 minutes, he tends to hurt his opponent at one point or another.
Vera didn’t zombie his way through these shots either; they just didn’t really matter to him.
Vera’s terminator act is remarkably consistent. In 19 UFC fights, Vera has never been knocked down, let alone finished. He often loses the first round then storms back to finish opponents, walking them down regardless of the offense that comes his way. “Chito” is fighting killers too, heavy-handed proven knockout artists like Song Yadong and John Lineker.
There are, to my mind, four elements that make Vera’s durability possible. First and foremost, there’s his physical chin. Some fighters can take harder shots than others merely because of how their skulls and necks are built, and “Chito” is surely blessed in this regard.
The next two are intrinsically tied together. Firstly, Vera does a great job of keeping his guard high. Even when Font connected to his jawline, his shots often skimmed off Vera’s forearms first, taking a significant amount of heat off those blows. Within this firefight, Vera also does an incredible job of maintaining his composure, which allows him to keep that guard high throughout even the wildest of exchanges.
Next time somebody uses total/sig strike numbers to argue a decision show them this pic.twitter.com/Gk5aqsLvC3— Super Fan (@McGregorRousey) May 1, 2022
Finally, there’s conditioning. In this type of durability discussion, we generally think of conditioning as improving the ability to recover from being rocked. In Vera’s case, however, his deep gas tank makes it easier to maintain that composure and stay within himself, rather than over-extend in desperation and get truly cracked.
It all combines to make Vera a pretty miserable opponent who’s tough to deter and impossible to put away. Even in his only losses in the last four years to Jose Aldo and Yadong, Vera forced highly competitive fights and had moments where his opponents looked rather uncomfortable while faced with a seemingly un-killable contender.
Marlon Vera vs. Petr Yan sure seems like it’d be a fun clash in finding out who blinks first.
For complete UFC Vegas 53: “Font vs. Vera” results and play-by-play, click HERE!