April is just about in the books, but not before one more UFC Fight Night on the last evening of the month.
This week, the MMA leader sets up shop once again inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 53 (main card Saturday, 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT, ESPN and ESPN+ following prelims at 4:30 pm ET/ 1:30 pm PT on ESPN2 and ESPN+), a 12-fight card.
Bantamweight Showdown in UFC Vegas 53 Main Event
Highlighting the action is a bantamweight showdown in the UFC Vegas 53 main event, as No. 5 contender Rob Font (19-5 MMA, 9-4 UFC) battles No. 8 contender Marlon Vera (18-7-1 MMA, 11-6 UFC.)
As with all UFC headlining bouts, Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 53 main event will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show in Las Vegas, the culmination of a busy sports weekend in the city, with this year’s NFL Draft wrapping up right before the main card begins.
Note: Due to the length of the draft telecast, UFC Vegas 53’s main card telecast may not start on ESPN at the scheduled time.
UFC Vegas 53 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the UFC Vegas 53 main event this coming Saturday evening, both Rob Font and Marlon Vera stand even in height at 5-foot-8.
The reach categories are where the two men gain some separation, as Rob Font owns a one-inch reach advantage (71 1/2 inches to 70 1/2 inches) over Marlon Vera.
Vera owns a two-inch leg reach advantage (40 1/2 inches to 38 1/2 inches) over Font entering the UFC Vegas 53 main event this weekend.
Rob Font Looks to Rebound With Victory in UFC Vegas 53 Main Event Saturday Night
Rob Font enters Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 53 main event having posted a 4-1 mark in his last five MMA bouts, but he saw a four-fight winning streak snapped in his most recent appearance, a unanimous decision loss to Jose Aldo on Dec. 4 of last year during the UFC Vegas 44 main event.
After the defeat, Font talked about Aldo’s power with Daniel Cormier in the post-fight interview.
“He caught me with some clean shots that I couldn’t see,” Font said. “It was hard to see that extra third and fourth shot with my eye all swollen up, but the guy’s a legend. It’s tough, man. It’s tough. I feel like I could beat him, but it just wasn’t my night. Hats off to him.”
Font, who will turn 35 years of age on June 25, enters the twilight of his MMA career and aims to rebound here as he tries to make a bid at the UFC Bantamweight Championship, this after having turned down a bid at the promotion’s Interim Bantamweight Championship as the promotion’s first option previously.
“I think it was the right call,” he said about declining an interim title fight versus Petr Yan last October. “It sucked. I was still dealing with the whole USADA situation. I wasn’t even sure if I was fighting for the next year.”
Subsequent to his issues with USADA, he had also contracted COVID-19, along with his girlfriend, after a trip to Texas, leading to his decision to decline the fight.
Can Rob Font turn things around and score his 20th career victory and his 10th UFC victory in the UFC Vegas 53 main event on Saturday night?
Tune in and find out.
Marlon Vera Discusses Rob Font Ahead of UFC Vegas 53 Main Event
In the other corner, Marlon Vera has compiled a record of 3-2 over his last five MMA bouts, most recently scoring a third-round knockout (front kick) of Frankie Edgar on Nov. 6 during UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
During the run-up to the UFC Vegas 53 main event on Saturday night, Vera appeared on the March 14 edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, sporting a new head tattoo of a scorpion, and the topic of Rob Font came up in the interview.
“I think it was about right,” Vera said of Font as his opponent during the UFC Vegas 53 main event. “I was waiting for something like that. Nothing less, and it came. I think the UFC did a great job. I’m very persistent, so I was asking for a fight since Dec. 1. I was like, ‘Hey, let’s go. It’s time to fight. It’s already been a month. Come on, I’m bored.”
Another noteworthy storyline is the fact that Saturday’s headlining bout marks Vera’s first appearance in a UFC main event.
“It feels like when I was wishing to be one day in the UFC and they called me, it feels great,” he said. “I hear a lot of fighters in the past be like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to fight.’ They talk like business as usual, and success is not about that. You’ve got to be enthusiastic, you’ve got to feel happy about this, you’ve got to be like a kid when you get your first (expletive deleted) candy. I feel that way when they call me for a fight, and now that they’ve called me for my first main event, I’m going to (expletive deleted) go. I’m going to work. I’m ready.”
These are confident statements from the main event debutante, for certain, ahead of this week’s headliner.
One question, however, still remains:
Can he back up the talk when the cage door shuts on Saturday night?
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the UFC Vegas 53 main event on Saturday night looks to favor Marlon Vera, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, compared to Rob Font’s brown belt in BJJ.
Watch For Font’s Punches
In looking at the tape of Rob Font’s fight against Marlon Moraes in December of 2020, his punches could tell the tale in the UFC Vegas 53 main event on Saturday night.
During the first round of a scheduled three, Marlon Moraes opened things up with a takedown, establishing control of the top mount before attempting a guillotine choke before Font was able to defend it.
Moraes wrestled with Font thereafter, scoring his second takedown two minutes into the fight, gaining more control from the top mount before Font was able to get to the clinch and break out of it to return to a stand-up fight, landing a three-punch combination to begin the onslaught that would eventually end the fight.
Although Moraes was able to return fire, it wasn’t nearly enough to turn the tide in his favor.
If Rob Font’s punches are on the button, look out in the UFC Vegas 53 main event.
Vera’s Elbows Can Be Nasty
As far as Marlon Vera is concerned, his elbow strikes have been known to be vicious, as is shown in the film of his fight versus Sean O’Malley.
In the first round of a scheduled three, Vera absorbed some leg kicks from O’Malley and bought his time after O’Malley blew out his right knee, with Vera attacking that right leg with kicks of his own.
With O’Malley now moving gingerly thanks to his broken foot, he landed some right-handed punches, falling down after that sequence, giving Vera the opening he needed to pounce on O’Malley by landing some crisp elbow shots and a nasty left-handed punch to put him out.
If Marlon Vera can land those nasty elbow shots, it could be over early in the UFC Vegas 53 main event.
This could be an interesting fight on Saturday, especially if it gets to the cage mat.
One final prediction here:
Whichever man takes his opponent to the cage mat first is going to be the winner of the UFC Vegas 53 main event.
Prediction: Rob Font by Unanimous Decision.
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