Marlon 'Chito' Vera gets a massive opportunity against former Featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC Fight Night Las Vegas 17. Aldo, ranked 7th in the division, fought for the title back in July against the champion Petr Yan.
Considered by many as the greatest Featherweight of his era, Aldo decided to jump down a division after the loss to Alexander Volkanovski. Aldo lost his first fight in the Bantamweight division to a split decision against Marlon Moraes.
However, he still earned a title shot coming off the loss as Dana White and others in the MMA fraternity thought he won the contest. The former champion then gave a great account of himself, especially in the first two rounds before eventually losing to Yan in the fourth.
Vera, on the other hand, gathered a ton of momentum b beating Sean O'Malley in his last fight. However, Vera has been a force in the division much before that with a 6-fight win streak.
The Ecuador native was unfortunate to lose to Song Yadong in a close fight. But he has all the skills to upset the Brazilian.
Vera's stronger stance is southpaw but he switches often during a fight. The 28-year-old has vicious calf kicks from both stances, often deterring the movement of his opponent (like he did with O'Malley).
Vera fights with a lot of pressure and has a very competent ground game. He doesn't mind getting taken down due his triangle and arm-bar attacks.
The 28-year-old sounded confident ahead of the fight:
"This is a chance to put on a f*ckin’ hell of a fight and I love that. This is probably the worst matchup for him[Aldo]. He’s a f*ckin’ great fighter and he’s a tough guy. He’s not a mismatch for nobody. He’s been fighting huge [names] his whole career and I’m not thinking it will be anything else but a hard fight."
Despite the three-fight losing streak, Aldo doesn't seem to be on the wane at all. The Brazilian phenom's boxing looked on point against a tricky customer like Yan.
Aldo's rear leg body kicks and body shots will be a worry for Vera, especially if he decides to stand southpaw. The three-round fight suits the 34-year-old as his weight cut down to 135 lbs has been rough in the past.
It is a bit curious to see Aldo being matched up against Vera after the title fight, given he is ranked 14 in the world. However, Aldo doesn't concentrate on the politics around the fight:
"I’m not feeling any pressure because I always fight with great fighters, I just keep training hard and preparing for my new opponent. That’s it. I’m not feeling any pressure. What keeps me motivated is the victory. I’m training hard because I want to be a champion in my new division. That’s my motivator every day."
Despite the 4th round finish against Yan, Aldo does remain very durable. The former champion is also great in checking low-kicks, which is one of Vera's best weapons.
Vera himself is in great form but is probably in over his head with Aldo. Still somehow just 34, the Brazilian is capable of turning on the heat when needed and we expect him to win the fight via a decision.
Published 19 Dec 2020, 20:01 IST