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Marlon
Vera
simply had too many weapons in his arsenal for Rob Font.

Making the most of his first headlining appearance in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
, Vera battered and bloodied the
visage of his opponent en route to an impressive unanimous decision
triumph at UFC
on ESPN 35
on Saturday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. All
three cageside judges had the fight in favor of Vera: 48-47, 49-46
and 49-46.

Font, who missed weight by 2.5 pounds on Friday, was in a rhythm
from the outset, as he worked behind a stellar jab, straight
punching combinations and uppercuts through the guard of his
adversary. While Font (19-6, 9-5 UFC) landed in superior volume
throughout, Vera (19-7-1, 13-6 UFC) connected with the strikes of
consequence.

Vera began to assert himself late in Round 2, when he floored Font
with a left hook and dropped elbows from above until the horn
sounded. It would be a recurring theme for the rest of the fight.
Vera dropped Font with a knee in the third round, a hook kick to
the face in the fourth and again with a hook kick to the head in
Round 5 for good measure. While Font continued to land in volume
until the final bell, Vera’s multi-faceted offense, which included
kicks to all levels, knees, elbows and punches, was simply too
much. While Font was barely recognizable at fight’s end, Vera
barely wore the damage from a five-round bout.

Vera has won three straight in UFC competition, while Font has
dropped back-to-back fights for the first time in his pro
career.

Arlovski Edges Collier

Andrei
Arlovski
keeps finding ways to win.

The former heavyweight champion eked out a contentious
split-decision triumph against Jake
Collier
in Saturday’s co-main event — his fourth consecutive
victory within the Las Vegas-based promotion. Mike Bell saw
the fight 30-27 for Collier, while Douglas Crosby and Sal D’Amato
submitted 29-28 scorecards in favor of Arlovski.

Collier was often at his best when he could make the fight ugly by
punching his way into the clinch, while Arlovski (34-20, 23-14, 1
NC UFC) enjoyed success answering with quick combinations. The last
two rounds were almost too close to call and featured numerous
accidental clashes of heads as the combatants traded willingly in
the pocket. Ultimately, it was likely Arlovski’s cleaner technique
and movement that held sway with the judges. A disappointed Collier
(13-7, 5-6 UFC) left the cage in disgust after the verdict was
announced.


Brito Clobbers Fili

Joanderson
Brito
earned an emphatic victory against
Team Alpha Male
veteran Andre Fili,
winning via technical knockout in a featherweight encounter. The

Dana White’s Contender Series
alum brought an abrupt end to the
bout just 41 seconds into Round 1, winning for the 11th time in his
last 12 professional outings.

Brito (13-3-1, 1-1 UFC) didn’t give Fili (21-9, 9-8, 1 NC UFC) much
time to get settled. He tagged his foe with a pair of stiff left
jabs before dropping him with a massive overhand right
to the chin
. Brito then teed off with approximately 10
unanswered hammerfists on the canvas before referee Herb Dean
stepped to wave off the bout. Fili suffered his first KO/TKO defeat
since April 23, 2016.

Dawson Scores Late Tapout of Gordon

Jared
Gordon
knew what was coming from Grant
Dawson
. He just couldn’t stop it enough to make a
difference.

Dawson (18-1-1, 6-0-1 UFC) landed multiple takedowns and took
Gordon’s back repeatedly before securing a late submission victory
in a featured lightweight tilt. The American Top Team
representative forced his adversary to tap to a rear-naked choke at
the 4:11 mark of Round 3, bringing Gordon’s three-bout winning
streak to an end.

While Gordon (18-5, 6- 4 UFC) enjoyed success landing punching
combinations to the head, Dawson’s timing on takedowns —
particularly in grabbing a single-leg — was impeccable. He spent
significant periods of the fight in back control with a body
triangle secured, either landing punches to the head or hunting for
chokes. Dawson also did solid work on the feet in Round 3, landing
jabs, kicks, knees and a standing elbow that busted Gordon open.
“KGD” put a lasting stamp on the fight by turning the corner for
one last takedown in Round 3, quickly taking Gordon’s back, sinking the choke and
eliciting the tap
. Gordon, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt,
had never been submitted in MMA competition.

Elkins Takes Grueling Battle Against Connelly

Darren
Elkins
dragged Tristan
Connelly
into his type of fight and emerged with a unanimous
decision triumph in a grueling, bloody featherweight scrap. Elkins
(27-10, 17-9 UFC), who owns the most appearances in UFC 145-pound
history with 24, earned a trio of 30-27 tallies from the cageside
judges. “The Damage” has been victorious in three of his last four
Octagon appearances.

Elkins was in vintage form. He pressured forward with punches,
shoved Connelly (14-8, 1-2 UFC) into the cage and landed multiple
takedowns. On the canvas, Elkins took his foe’s back repeatedly,
landing short shots to the head and threatening with chokes. To his
credit, Connelly stayed in the fight and battled Elkins at range
and in the clinch, notably landing several hard standing elbows in
close quarters. It wasn’t enough, as Elkins concluded the action
attached to Connelly’s back with a body triangle in place,
hammering away and nearly sinking in a rear-naked choke.


Jotko Outpoints Meerschaert

Crisp striking, takedowns and deft scrambling ability carried

American Top Team
export Krzysztof
Jotko
to a unanimous decision victory over Gerald
Meerschaert
in a middleweight feature. The 32-year-old Pole
received a trio of 30-27 tallies from the cageside judges for his
fifth win in his last six promotional outings. Meerschaert,
meanwhile, saw a three-fight submission streak come to an end.

Jotko (24-5, 11-5 UFC) was quicker to the punch in the early going,
as he repeatedly tagged a plodding Meerschaert (34-15, 9-7 UFC)
with a right hook-straight left combination before angling out of
danger. When Meerschaert did gain entry into the clinch, Jotko more
than held his own while denying his opponent’s attempts to drag the
action to the canvas.

As the bout progressed, it was Jotko who landed multiple takedowns,
and he was able to either defend Meerschaert’s submissions or
scramble to a more advantageous position when the action was on the
canvas. To his credit, Meerschaert never stopped forcing the issue,
but he never truly threatened his opponent, either.

Continue Reading »
UFC on ESPN 35 Prelims: Figueiredo Kneebars Lacerda


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