Marlon “Chito” Vera didn’t get a knockout but he bloodied and bludgeoned Rob Font with multiple knockdowns over five rounds to win a unanimous decision in the UFC Vegas 53 main event.
While he had to battle through an awe-inspiring amount of output coming from Font throughout the fight, Vera continuously connected with his biggest strikes just before each round ended as he came close to several finishes. Somehow, Font kept finding a way to survive but by the end of the night his face was bruised, swollen and bloody as Vera just dished out an ungodly amount of damage to get the win.
The judges scored the fight 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46 as Vera picked up his third victory in a row overall.
“It means the world,” Vera said about his win. “I feel like everything I dream in my life is happening. This is amazing. I’m living the dream. I’m going to be a world champion.”
The bantamweights were throwing fire at each other with Font snapping off a nasty lead jab and Vera coming back at him with a series of kicks including several stiff shots to the calf on his opponent’s lead leg. Font was putting a lot of zip behind his right hand as he continued to focus on his boxing while also throwing some hard uppercuts whenever Vera got in close.
Font was so incredibly active on his feet, throwing rapid fire combinations but Vera wasn’t backing down while coming back even more kicks and displaying great durability as well. It seemed like every time Font was starting to really add up his striking numbers, Vera would back him off with another massive kick that would even the score.
Just when it looked like Font was going to win the second round, Vera uncorked a perfectly timed left hook that dropped the New England Cartel fighter to the canvas. Vera blitzed him with punches in an attempt to get the finish but Font survived thanks to time running out.
While the knockdown definitely had him rattled, Font reset rather quickly after coming back out from his corner as he continued to connect with volume while Vera was coming back at him with pure power. Font’s output was astronomical as he was constantly throwing three and four punch combinations but once again Vera was able to make him pay late in the round.
With just seconds remaining in the third, Vera blasted Font with a jumping knee to put him down on the ground again. Vera cracked Font with a couple more stiff elbows but yet again time expired before the Ecuadorean fighter could do enough for a stoppage.
The one minute break was enough for Font to recover but it was a short lived reprieve because Vera got creative yet again — this time with a hook kick that landed flush. As soon as Vera’s foot touched the head, Font was wobbled before hitting the floor for the third time in the fight.
Rather than attacking on the ground, Vera opted to kick away at Font’s legs before the referee stood the fighters up again. That allowed Font to get back to his corner yet again, which was just enough for him to take a breath and come back out firing for the final five minute session.
Almost like the fight was on rewind and then replay, Font started strong but then it was Vera who managed to walk through the early onslaught before delivering another shot that had the Massachusetts’ native nearly out on his feet. Font showed incredible heart to gut it out until the final horn while Vera looked fresh as if he was ready to go another 25 minutes.
Vera has been making a steady climb up the bantamweight ranks and this win will almost assuredly put him in position to earn a top-five opponent, which is exactly what he wants next.
“Four, three and two [ranked bantamweights], let’s go,” Vera said. “Any of those three. Any time, any moment.”