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“He learned to believe in himself” - Brandon Vera impressed by Amir Aliakbari’s resolve in last fight

Brandon Vera (left) and Amir Aliakbari (right). [Photos ONE Championship]
Brandon Vera (left) and Amir Aliakbari (right) [Photos ONE Championship]

Brandon Vera may have been the target of Amir Aliakbari’s constant trash-talk, but the former heavyweight king gave the Iranian brawler respect for what he did in his last match.

Aliakbari, who made it a point to talk smack to Vera after arriving in ONE Championship in 2021, slugged out a second-round knockout win against Mauro Cerilli at ONE on Prime Video 1 this past August.

In an interview with The MMA Superfan, Brandon Vera said that he was impressed with Aliakbari's performance against Cerilli and that he expects the same kind of tenacity in their match at ONE 164 on December 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena:

“When he won he looked surprised that he was gonna win. The best part of that fight when I was watching though, he learned to believe in himself in that last fight. So I’m a fan of this Aliakbari coming into fight week. I’m very, very welcome to him. I’m very, very excited to see how this goes down.”

Aliakbari and Cerilli featured in an absolute brawl during their match in Singapore, with the two fighters battering each other throughout the contest. Cerilli, who once challenged Vera for the ONE heavyweight world title, even knocked off Aliakbari’s mouthpiece during a second-round exchange.

Aliakbari, though, used his wrestling to take his opponent down, eventually finishing off the Italian with thunderous ground-and-pound.


Brandon Vera punished himself in preparation for Amir Aliakbari

Brandon Vera knew that fighting an in-form Aliakbari would be a lethal proposition, which is why he ran the gauntlet during his training camp for ONE 164.

The former ONE heavyweight world champion said in the same interview with The MMA Superfan that he’s been put through an intense strength and conditioning regimen that he absolutely hated every minute of.

Despite that, Vera knows that what he’s doing in camp could eventually pay off inside the circle:

“I don’t mind the strength part, if we’re just gonna lift weights I’m okay with that all day long. But man you gotta make me do sprints in the middle, I gotta do these crazy a** rope pulls, I gotta walk on my hands all that kind of stuff. I absolutely hate it, I just save that for camp.”

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Edited by Aziel Karthak
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