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Marlon Vera: Fight with John Lineker is one that ‘favors me’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Marlon Vera will be taking a big gamble on Saturday night.

The Ecuadorian fighter has the tough task of taking on dangerous knockout artist John Lineker in Lineker’s home country of Brazil. The two bantamweights will open up the FOX Sports 1 main card of UFC Sao Paulo (UFC Fight Night 119), which will go down at the Ginasio do Ibirapuera.

Lineker didn’t get the nickname “Hands of Stone” for no reason. The 27-year-old fighter has been terrorizing the lower weight classes of the UFC for some time now, putting away much of his opposition in violent fashion. As many might have expected, not many UFC bantamweights were keen on going to battle with Lineker on his home grounds. According to the Brazilian, up to seven fighters declined a chance to fight him.

Yet, Ecuador’s Vera did not hesitate to jump on the opportunity when he received the call from the UFC.

“I had no reservations at all,” Vera told MMA Fighting. “I was ready and training and that’s my only requisite: to be prepared. And after that, I’m down to fight against anyone, and Lineker wasn’t going to be the exception. I believe in myself and I’m always prepared, training hard.

“I feel good, I feel comfortable and I’m ready to win. Preparation plus opportunity gives success.”

Many perhaps didn’t really see this booking coming, as Lineker is ranked in the top five of the division, and Vera has yet to break into the rankings. “Chito,” who is on a three-fight win streak and is considered one of the best prospects in Latin America, saw this bout with Lineker as a great opportunity to get a number next to his name.

“Well, I was waiting for a fight and I didn’t care against who, I just wanted to fight,” Vera said. “So yeah, they called me to fight Lineker — and from what I understand, there were several people that didn’t want to fight Lineker in Brazil — so they called me and I just saw it as another fight. It’s a fight that favors me, it’s a fight that can put me up in the rankings, and the opportunity presented it self, so why not?

“I see this fight as a fight that can give me a lot of experience or a fight that can position me very high. So whatever it is, I’m going to take full advantage and do everything in my power to win it.”

The Team Oyama product believes the fight with Lineker is the biggest fight of his MMA career and a great opportunity to advance in the promotion. Some might disagree with Vera, and argue that Lineker is too big of a jump in competition to overcome.

“Those are opinions and I don’t live based off the opinions of others,” Vera explained. “I live based off my acts and we’ll see with this fight. I’m always ready and I do my best to back up my words. The fight is tough, but I’m also tough, so the winner here will be the guy who wants it more.”