Rob Font and Marlon Vera are pining to prove they have what it takes to take out the best bantamweights on the planet. Font and Vera will collide in the main event of UFC Fight Night on April 30 with the desire to make a serious impression on matchmakers at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Font (19-5) is on his comeback tour after being outperformed by Jose Aldo in December. Font had moments of success against the legendary featherweight champion, but it was a clear unanimous decision loss for Saturday's headliner. It snapped a four-fight winning streak -- the best of Font's UFC tenure -- against game opposition like former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and Marlon Moraes. Font has studied "Chito" closely ahead of their clash on Saturday, particularly Vera's recent win over Frankie Edgar.
"He's dangerous. I don't think there is one spot where he is completely dangerous," Font told CBS Sports. "I think overall if he's on fire or having a good night. Him doing his thing is when he's mixing it up with kicks, elbows and takedowns. I would say overall I have to be prepared for everything. I don't think there is one thing that really stands out.
"He hung in there. He was losing a couple of rounds, I believe the first round and halfway through the second round. And he came back. That's hard to do at this level, especially against a guy like Frankie Edgar. I'd say grit. He's gritty. He's not easy to finish and he's also not easily discouraged."
Check out the full interview with Rob Font below.
Vera (18-7-1) deals in violence, but he will have to work inside of Font's range and crisp boxing. "Chito" bounced back from a loss to Aldo in December 2020 with impressive victories over Edgar and Davey Grant. Vera actually credits the loss to Aldo for elevating him to a new level. Intent on making an impression at Font's expense, "Chito" would not be surprised to see a UFC bantamweight title shot in his near future.
"I believe a great win on Saturday night would put me in title contention," Vera told reporters at Wednesday's media day. "Depending on how the cards are played at the top, it's either I can go straight for the belt or I have another fight. But a win this Saturday puts me right there.
"I really think losing to Aldo the way I lost -- I'm never the person that wants say 'oh he was hold[ing] me down.' That's not a thing. I was the one that was supposed to escape and kick his ass. I don't believe in get-ups, I don't believe the referee should be standing up. If you're fighting someone that is boring or wants to hold you down, f--- it. Winning is way better than f---ing losing, good for them... I think losing like that almost kills me on the inside. Because I know how close I was to finishing him, I know how tired he was. It's all on me. Mentally, I'm focused, I will never blame a coach or a person, it's all my fault. I think that loss just made me angry, I was not happy with myself."
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Veterans fill out the rest of the undercard on Saturday night as former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski is set to take on Jake Collier in the co-main event. Arlovski, who held the title all the way back in 2004, has done well to remain relevant as a gatekeeper of sorts in the division. Plus, Andre Fili is back in a featherweight contest when he battles Joanderson Brito. And rugged featherweight Darren Elkins is back when he takes on Tristan Connelly.
Here is the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
UFC Fight Night card, odds
Rob Font -130
Marlon Vera +110
Andrei Arlovski -150
Jake Collier +125
Andre Fili -220
Joanderson Brito +180
Grant Dawson -180
Jared Gordon +155
Darren Elkins -175
Tristan Connelly +150
Krzysztof Jotko -170
Gerald Meerschaert +145
UFC Fight Night viewing information
Date: April 30 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: UFC Apex -- Las Vegas, Nevada
Rob Font vs. Marlon Vera: Font is the favorite heading into UFC Fight Night, but just barely. Oddsmakers have this fight close to a pick'em and that feels justified despite Font's failure to make weight by 2.5 pounds on Friday. Font has some of the best boxing and ranged striking in the division, but his early knockout success in the UFC has not followed him up the ladder. Vera remains one of the most potent finishers among the bantamweight top 15 with the ability to kick, elbow, body shot and choke his way to victory. Font fights long, but only has a one-inch reach advantage against the dangerous Vera. "Chito" arguably has the higher ceiling as his combination of skills could give everyone at bantamweight some serious problems. However, while Vera may have scored an ugly, picture-perfect knockout of Edgar at UFC 268, it came after losing Round 1 and most of Round 2 against a veteran that is well on the downslide. Expect Font to shore up the issues in his striking defense that empowered Aldo to land a big right hand. Font should be able to maintain the distance and pick away at Vera with boxing combinations for 25 minutes. Font via UD
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