This weekend sees the UFC return to the Las Vegas APEX for its latest Fight Night event. While the last two events were lacking somewhat, this one looks excellent.
UFC Fight Night: Rob Font vs. Marlon Vera features a number of exciting-sounding fights and while not many are likely to impact the title pictures of the promotion’s divisions, they should be watchable.
So with a number of the wildest fighters on the roster in action, this Fight Night should be one to keep a close eye on, as we could be in for some great scraps.
Here are five reasons to watch UFC Fight Night: Rob Font vs. Marlon Vera.
#5. Grant Dawson is one of the UFC’s most underrated fighters
The UFC’s Fight Night cards tend to be filled with fighters who lack name value for the most part, and this means that many of the promotion’s more underrated fighters tend to fly under the radar at these events somewhat.
One of those underrated fighters – lightweight Grant Dawson – is in action this weekend, facing off with the always aggressive Jared Gordon in what should be one of this event’s most watchable bouts.
Dawson has been with the UFC for just over three years now after earning his shot on Dana White’s Contender Series. Incredibly, ‘KGD’ is still unbeaten in the octagon at 5-0-1. He’s one of those fighters who doesn’t look like a superstar, but when he fights, he’s definitely effective.
Not only is he dangerous with his submissions – as his rear naked choke wins over Mike Trizano and Darrick Minner showed – but he also hits very hard, as we saw when he knocked out expert grappler Leonardo Santos with just one second remaining in their fight.
Dawson’s most recent bout was a somewhat disappointing one, as he came away from his fight with Ricky Glenn with a controversial draw, despite seemingly winning the first two rounds handily before fading late.
That means he’s likely to come into this bout with Gordon fired up. Given the all-action style of ‘Flash’, not only could these two lightweights produce fireworks, but Dawson is likely to have an edge. Overall, this is definitely one of the better fights on this card, and hopefully with a win, ‘KGD’ will open some more eyes to his skills.
#4. Darren Elkins is nearly always involved in wild fights
Few fighters have managed to survive in the UFC for more than a decade. Featherweight contender Darren Elkins has not only been with the promotion since 2010, but he also remains one of the most hard-nosed, tough veterans on the roster.
‘The Damage’ essentially lives up to his nickname seemingly every time he steps into the octagon. Win, lose or draw, Elkins always seems to come away from a fight covered in blood. While his lack of natural athleticism has prevented him from really challenging for UFC gold, he’s still picked up excellent wins over the years over the likes of Mirsad Bektic, Michael Johnson and Diego Brandao.
Elkins’ last fight saw him knocked out by fellow veteran Cub Swanson. Prior to that, he’d pulled off two straight wins, both via stoppage.
This weekend’s fight also looks favorable for him, as opponent Tristan Connelly has only fought once since 2019 – suffering a decision loss to prospect Pat Sabatini last April, and he’s been on the shelf ever since.
However, Connelly is a capable fighter, as his win over Michel Pereira showed. More to the point, he’s a hard-nosed brawler who is likely to get into the face of ‘The Damage’, who naturally won’t back down in turn.
That means we should get a trademark Elkins brawl from this fight, and win, lose or draw, ‘The Damage’ is highly likely to produce the goods inside the octagon once again, making this a fight to keep a close eye on.
#3. Andrei Arlovski is a genuine UFC legend and so it’s always worth watching him
It’s highly unlikely that UFC fans will be treated to too much wild action when Andrei Arlovski faces off with Jake Collier in a heavyweight bout this weekend, but the truth is that any chance to watch ‘The Pitbull’ in action is worth taking.
Okay, so it’s true that Arlovski hasn’t been producing wildly entertaining fights as of late. His striking style – which remains remarkably fleet-footed considering his age – is anathema to the kind of plodding opponents he’s been matched with recently, but the Belarusian simply doesn’t take too many risks these days in order to protect his chin.
However, it’s still worth noting that ‘The Pitbull’ is a genuine living legend of MMA and of the UFC, and for him to still be competing in the heavyweight division more than 15 years after he held the heavyweight title is truly remarkable.
The days of Arlovski contending for the title are long gone now, of course, but at the age of 43 he still appears to be in phenomenal shape. This weekend’s bout with Collier will mark the 38th time he’s stepped into the octagon and will be his 56th professional fight overall.
More to the point, if he can beat ‘The Prototype’, which he’s favored to do, he’ll equal the record for the most wins in UFC history – 23 – currently held by Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller. That fact alone makes his bout this weekend a must-see one.
#2. Andre Fili usually delivers crazy levels of action in the octagon
There are a number of fighters currently competing in the UFC who seem to guarantee crazy action every time they step into the octagon, and Andre Fili is undoubtedly one of them. Sure, ‘Touchy’ is no longer considered a prospect, nor is he a title contender, but it’s still hard to ignore him when he’s in action.
Interestingly, the main reason why Fili’s never quite ascended to the top of the featherweight division is the same reason why he’s so exciting to watch. The Team Alpha Male fighter is aggressive to a fault, and often puts himself in harms’ way in order to attack his opponent.
Coming into this weekend’s bout with Joanderson Brito, Fili has not officially won a fight since his decision win over Charles Jourdain in 2020. He was comfortably beating Daniel Pineda in his last trip to the octagon, only for the fight to be declared a No Contest when Pineda suffered an accidental eye poke.
However, this bout seems like a winnable one for ‘Touchy’, as Brito doesn’t have anywhere near the same experience as him inside the octagon. Just like Fili, he’s wildly aggressive and can be expected to bring the fight to his opponent.
Either way, this one should be a surefire contender for this weekend’s 'Fight of the Night' award, and so it’s definitely a reason to check out the event.
#1. Marlon Vera has quietly become one of the UFC’s most entertaining fighters to watch
The most intriguing bout on tap at this weekend’s event is definitely the headline fight between bantamweights Rob Font and Marlon Vera. While Font is currently the higher ranked of the two, it’s arguably ‘Chito’ who makes this one a must-see clash.
Back when he debuted in the UFC in 2014 following a stint on the first season of TUF: Latin America, few fans expected the native of Ecuador to produce anything special. Not only has Vera become one of the most dangerous bantamweights on the roster, he’s become one of the most exciting, too.
Literally every time ‘Chito’ steps into the octagon, he’s looking to finish off his opponent in violent fashion. While he’s dropped decisions to the likes of Jose Aldo and Song Yadong, when he wins, it tends to come before the final buzzer.
In fact, Vera has only gone the distance in victory on two occasions since starting his career with the UFC. His other ten victims were all stopped in nasty fashion, including former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, who was viciously knocked out by a front kick last November.
Whether ‘Chito’ can defeat Font remains to be seen, but he’ll almost certainly give it his all. If he can beat the Boston native, it’s unlikely that it’ll come in a five-round decision. This fight, therefore, is one that fans should not take their eyes off.