Updated:Apr 29, 2022
Rob Font and Marlon Vera are both ranked in the top ten in the UFC’s Bantamweight division. On Saturday, April 30th, they will meet in the middle of the octagon at UFC Vegas 53. The winner will be one step closer to a title shot; the loser will be dejected and most likely fall out of the top ten. Meanwhile, Jake Collier has recovered from the nagging injury that forced his upcoming match with Andre Arlovski to be delayed by one week. The two giants will meet in a heavyweight showdown as part of the co-main event of the evening. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this action to unfold. There’s a lot to unpack here; without further ado, let’s get into it!
Font vs. Vera
Rob Font was once the CES featherweight champion. After three successful title defenses, he simultaneously moved to bantamweight and joined the UFC’s roster. Since that time, he’s been one of the elite performers in the division, but is yet to achieve his ultimate goal, winning the UFC’s bantamweight championship belt. Prior to his unanimous decision defeat at the hands of former champion José Aldo in December, Font had won his last four fights. At 34-years-old, he appears to be in the best shape of his career. A shot at the title is still within the realm of possibility for Font; a win on Saturday would put him one step closer towards that goal.
Marlon Vera has been a professional mixed martial artist for ten years. Although he’s always been well respected among his peers, he’s never been given a title shot in any organization he’s competed in. As a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Vera is one of the most technically sound fighters in the UFC. However, he has not amassed the box office knockouts it often takes to warrant enough fan support to justify a title shot. On Saturday, he will have an opportunity to take on another top five contender during a main event on Fight Night. It’s an opportunity he must capitalize on if he wants to take his career to the next level.Embed from Getty Images
Arlovski vs. Collier
Andrei Arlovski is a mixed martial arts legend who has seemingly been around forever. He is 43-years-old, once fought the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, and has appeared in movies with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren. In spite of the fact that his place in the history of fighting is solidified and he could make a living from playing enforcers in action films, Arlovski still has a passion for competition. He is currently on a three-fight-win streak and showing no signs of slowing down.
Jake Collier started his career in 2010, competing in regional circuits in the Southeastern United States. Eventually, he garnered national attention and was added to the UFC’s roster in 2014. Since that time, he has been mediocre. For years, he was seen as an athlete who would one day be a contender in the heavyweight division. Now, at 33-years-old, he is danger of becoming a permanent “also-ran.” If he is able to defeat Arlovski on Saturday, it will be the biggest win of his career, and could eventually point him back in the right direction.
Fili vs. Brito
Featherweight prospect Andre Fili has not won a professional fight in almost two years. As a proud member of Team Alpha Male, Fili represents one of the most recognized outfits in all of MMA. If he wants to maintain his spot as one of his club’s flagship performers, he is going to have return to the winning ways of his glory days. His next opponent, Joanderson Brito, made his UFC debut in January in a unanimous decision loss to Bill Algeo. Both of these men will be trying to make an impression on Saturday; the UFC is notorious for roster shakeups. Neither fighter wants to be on the wrong end of those announcements.
Gordon vs. Dawson
Featherweight challenger Jared Gordon is on a three-fight win streak. Just two years ago, he’d lost three out of his last four fights and was in danger of losing his place on the UFC’s roster. Now he is trending in the right direction and could potentially find himself in the top 15 in the divisional rankings if he is victorious on Saturday. His next opponent, Grant Dawson is yet to lose in the UFC since making his organizational debut in March of 2019. Both of these men aspire to become ranked in the ultra-competitive lightweight division. Expect fireworks when these two athletes climb into the octagon together!
Elkins vs. Connelly
Featherweight challenger Darren Elkins competed as a collegiate wrestler for two seasons before dropping out of school to become a professional mixed martial artist. After spending three years on regional circuits, he was added to the UFC’s roster in 2010. Although he’s never competed for a championship, his longevity has made him a fan favorite over the years. His next opponent, Tristan Connelly, has been a professional mixed martial artist since 2010, but did not get his chance to compete in the UFC until 2019. While neither of these men will appear in a championship bout, they are two of the most competitive men in the sport and will inevitably put on a good show for the fans on Saturday.
Jotko vs. Meerschaert
Krzysztof Jotko aspired to be a break-dancer when he was young. His first time viewing a UFC event on television would change his life forever. After witnessing Ken Shamrock take on Tito Ortiz, Jotko decided to dedicate his life to the sport. His next opponent, Gerald Meerschaert, played the saxophone throughout high school and aspired to become a music teacher. However, he too fell in love with mixed martial arts and decided to begin training in the sport at the age of 19. Neither man, achieved their initial goal, however they are both excited to be on the UFC’s roster; they will give fans a great show on April 30th at the Apex Center.
How to watch
UFC Fight Night can be viewed on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis available right here at World in Sport!