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Rematch Between Two Bantamweights Has Potential to Be a Classic

This Saturday, the UFC returns to the Apex for UFC Vegas 29, with two ferocious featherweights headlining the event. “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung looks to get back to winning ways against “50K” Dan Ige. Also on the main card, two bantamweights who shared the cage in February 2016 at UFC Fight Night 84. They now look to put on a show for a second time.

Marlon Vera vs Davey Grant was on the preliminary card five years ago. This time around, they compete on the main card of UFC Vegas 29. With the two more experienced, it has all the makings to be a classic. Not only will it be an entertaining rematch, but Grant also has the opportunity to steal the final ranked position off Vera in the bantamweight division.

Marlon Vera vs Davey Grant Comparison

Marlon “Chito” Vera (16-7-1, 10-6 UFC) has been with the UFC for almost seven years, as he heads into his 17th bout in the promotion. The Ecuadorian has come a long way to become the fighter he is today, and it’s all come with blood, sweat, and tears.

After taking part in The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America Season, Vera’s UFC career did not start as planned. Due to a skin infection, he was forced out of the competition at the semi-final stage. He left an impression on UFC President Dana White though, who set him up with his first bout at UFC 180 against Marco Beltran. Unfortunately for Vera, after a close three rounds, he was defeated via unanimous decision on his promotional debut.

In his next bout, Vera showed why the UFC wouldn’t regret taking the chance on him. Roman Salazar gained a nice position on top of Vera, but Chito proved exactly why he was deserving of a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He produced a stunning triangle choke over Salazar to shock everyone watching with the outcome.

Losing to Grant left Vera with more to prove again, going 1-2 in his first three bouts. Again, he showed his quality and determination by producing brilliant finishes and chaotic battles. Vera has everything in his locker, and in his fight against Brad Pickett, he knocked him down with a ruthless head-kick to finish him with the ground & pound.

Vera’s best streak came between August 2018 to October 2019. He competed five times and finished all five of his opponents. A staggering performance over Andre Ewell saw him earn his third bonus in the promotion and set him up against a similar talent in Song Yadong. The pair competed in an absolute classic. With Yadong coming away victorious, Vera could hold his head high with a Fight of the Night performance.

After his first-round victory over the formerly undefeated Sean O’Malley, Vera was awarded a fantastic matchup against Jose Aldo. Despite Vera outstriking Aldo, the decision went against him, and the latter won by unanimous decision. The fight could’ve gone either way, but with Vera being defeated, he has to restart his climb in the rankings by beating Grant on Saturday.

Davey “Dangerous” Grant (11-4, 4-3 UFC) shocked the world at UFC Vegas 21 when he came in as an underdog against the talented Jonathan Martinez. The pair traded numerous strikes throughout a brilliant battle. Grant pulled off a stunning knockout in the second round with a powerful right hand to knock Martinez to the canvas.

Grant started kickboxing in his teenage years and later started to learn grappling. He had his first amateur fight at the age of 15, and when he told his mates he used to compete, they didn’t believe him. In an interview with the Independent, Grant stated “Nobody believed me because I’m not the kind of person that gets into fights, I just like to get along with people and have a laugh.” Grant proved it by having his first professional fight at the age of 21. He finished his opponent one minute into the fight, and since that day, he never looked back.

With a record of 9-1, Grant was invited to join The Ultimate Fighter Season 18. He won his elimination round, but due to his opponent missing weight in the semi-final, he was given a bye to the final. Chris Holdsworth submitted Grant in the second round of the finale to become champion.

Despite losing, Grant’s class and personality were noticed by White, who offered him a contract anyway. After several injures and a 25-month hiatus from the sport, Grant dominated Vera in his return to the octagon. In the following bout, he faced defeat to Damian Stasiak via armbar. In Vera’s post-fight interview, he showed determination not to lose, by stating “I think my arm might be broken. I felt it cracking when I was in the armbar, but I just didn’t want to tap”.

After losing in 59-seconds to Manny Bermudez, Grant found himself in trouble. He suffered injuries left, right, and center, with long delays in between his fights. A split decision victory against Grigorii Popov saved his UFC career as he went on to knock Martin Day out in his next bout, winning a second straight Performance of the Night bonus. Let’s take a look at the breakdown and prediction for Marlon Vera vs Davey Grant.

Marlon Vera vs Davey Grant Breakdown and Prediction

Grant outclassed Vera in the first meeting between the pair in 2016. The scores went in Grant’s favor with 30-26s across the board. His striking was on a different level than Chito’s, but now Vera is a completely different fighter.

Stylistically, these two are very similar. They both have brilliant jiu-jitsu skills and are extremely talented when it comes to stand-up. Vera has six TKO/KO and seven submissions in his 16 wins. Whilst Grant holds three TKO/KO’s and eight submissions on his record. Their versatility is next to none, and it’s difficult to split these two and predict a winner.

It’s safe to say it’s not going to be as one-sided as the last fight, and we have a potential fight of the night on the cards here. It’s more than likely both will look to stand up and exchange combos. If a takedown opportunity appears, either will try to take it. Marlon Vera vs Davey Grant will be the fight before the co-main event Aleksei Oleinik vs Sergey Spivak.

Prediction: Davey Grant Unanimous Decision

Let us know your predictions on Marlon Vera vs Davey Grant in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter @JakeBroderick98 for more combat sports news and discussions. Also, make sure to follow @OT_Heroics for all of your sporting needs. Don’t forget to check out OTHeroicsMMA for all things MMA.

Featured Image Credits to: Embed from Getty Images

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