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LineStar® Weekly Knockout (UFC) -Fight Night Vera vs. Font

Chris Guy (MMA Expert)
Chris Guy (MMA Expert)
We’re Back With Another LineStar Weekly Knockout!
Written by LineStar contributor, combat sports enthusiast, and practitioner, Chris Guy.
Instagram: @therealsethgeko & Twitter: @DadHallOfFamer

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Main Card
Chito Vera (+110) vs Rob Font (-130)
Chito: DK: $7.9k | Font: DK:$8.3k
You’ll likely be using a stick to scrape dog shit off the bottoms of your house shoes after this one.  You’ll have to resod your entire lawn to get rid of the urine stains.  Beggin’ Strips and catchpoles will be useless, and five rounds won’t be long enough to corral these two dogs when they scrap it out this Saturday night.  Marlon “Chito” Vera and Rob Font are two fighters that epitomize the mentality it takes to make a living as a prizefighter.
Marlon Vera is known for being a fiery mean mother**ker, even for a man who pays his bills by punching people in the face.  He was The Ultimate Fighter Latin America winner and has become a top ten bantamweight.  Chito Vera’s style is anything but traditional; he beats you between the lines; he operates in the gray areas.  Vera doesn’t win fights by engaging in typical back and forth kickboxing matches on the feet with occasional takedowns and top control.  No, Chito Vera fights are ugly.  He beats you in all the areas often overlooked, in transitions, in the clinch, or striking from his back.  Chito is like a football team that beats you with special teams with long kick returns and punts downed inside the ten-yard line to win the field position battle.
Chito can adapt his stand-up to fight outside the pocket, using long snap kicks and jabs to establish range, and he can haul out the turnout gear and engage in a firefight in the pocket.  Like the T-1000, Chito will march you down for the duration of the fight, always pressuring and moving forward.  Over time, Chito’s pressure breaks opponents.  There’s never a moment when you can sit back and probe Chito with attacks to find openings.  You have to fight him off instincts because he stays in your face and forces you to make decisions on the fly.  His best weapons on the feet are his up-the-middle snap kicks.  In his most recent bout, he threatened Frankie Edgar with snap kicks throughout the fight until he finally landed one that ended Frankie’s night and made Frankie’s face look like a melted candle.  I guess you could say, Vera put Edgar on wax. 
On the mat, Vera is a gifted grappler with excellent strikes from his guard.  The closed guard from the bottom has become a thing of the past in MMA.  A closed guard keeps you on your back, and if you’re on your back, you’re losing the fight.  Unless you’re Chito Vera.  He uses the closed guard for leverage to strike from his back with elbows from different angles.  Chito’s guard striking forces fighters to stay active from the top, never allowing for a moment of rest.  The downside is that Chito tends to spend a lot of time on his back, and that never looks good in the eyes of the judges.  Subsequently, Chito loses close rounds and fights when he can’t create obvious damage from the bottom.
The key for Chito against Rob Font will be to close the distance and make this an old fashion phone booth scrap inside close quarters while avoiding takedowns.  He’ll have to navigate around Font’s long jab and use his snap kicks to discourage level changes.  If he ends up on his back, Chito will have to land elbows and look to stand back up immediately.  He can’t allow Font to clock significant top control time and steal close rounds.
I’ve said it before, if Rob Font was a font, he’d be a flowing medieval script so intricate you can hardly read it.  His entire game is predicated on one strike, his jab.  Font has a highly educated jab, Ph.D.  He works off that jab like a pro boxer, doubling and tripling it to set up his right hand and combinations.  My favorite combination is the double-jab-cross; that’s Font’s bread and butter.  Font’s jab is a lot like playing Mortal Kombat back in the day against someone that would use that weak little trip move over and over again and never let you get up, scoring a flawless victory and taking your quarter and sending you to the back of the line.  Font keeps his laser beam jab in your face and makes it very difficult for you to close the distance.
Since 2014, Font has compiled a 9-4 record and is coming off a tough five-round loss to the legend Jose Aldo.  Font sustained a ton of damage against Aldo, and the big question coming into this fight will be what kind of effect that damage will have on him.  We’ve seen it plenty of times; fighters who are never the same after engaging in life-altering wars inside the cage.  Rory McDonald vs. Robbie Lawler comes to mind.  Both fighters were never the same after they engaged in the greatest title fight of all time.
Technically, I give Font the edge in the stand-up.  He has a great understanding for how to alternate between power and finesse; he touches you with peppering shots to create openings to set up his power shots.  But I think a major part of his game plan against Chito will be takedowns and securing top control.  Font will need to look for takedowns in the open mat where Chito can’t use the cage to stand up, and use heavy ground and pound to stifle Vera’s offense from his back.
Rob Font is coming into this one as the (-140) favorite, but make no mistake, this is a complete toss-up.  Chito can make this an ugly grinding fight with constant, unrelenting pressure.  Vera is 18-7 in his career, with fifteen of those wins coming by stoppage.  More importantly, Vera has never been stopped inside the allotted time limit.  Font is 19-5 with twelve wins by stoppage and has only been finished once.  This has five-round decision written all over it. 
The main event-winning streak came to a halt last weekend.  Amanda Lemos went from 100 to 0 real quick after piecing up Jessica Andrade on the feet in the opening minutes.  But then she pulled the emergency brake and executed a textbook power slide into an L when she was caught in a standing arm triangle.  I didn’t see that coming.  Anywho, Rob Font via decision.  On wax.
Winner: Rob Font | Method: Decision
Rob Font
Rob Font
Jake Collier (+120) vs. Andrei Arlovski (-145)
Collier: DK: $7.8k | Arlovski: DK: $8.4k
I’m old enough to remember when Andrei Arlovski was the UFC Heavyweight Champion of the world and the baddest man on the planet.  From his one-punch fifteen-second KO of Paul Buentello, to his trilogy with the roided up monster Tim Sylvia, to his stint outside the UFC and fighting Fedor Emelianenko, to currently riding a three-fight winning streak, Arlovski doesn’t get the respect he deserves as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.  This bout against Jake Collier will mark Arlovski’s thirty-eighth appearance in the Octagon.  On top of his UFC run, Arlovski also fought in almost every old-school organization ever in existence: Elite XC, Strikeforce, World Series of Fighting, One FC, and Affliction.  
In addition to winning three fights in a row, Arlovski has won five of his last six, his only loss during that span coming to Tom Aspinal.  He’s the only fighter to test Aspinal in any fashion and remains competitive even though he’s one hundred and thirty-seven in fight years.  Arlovski’s KO power has long since evaporated, but he’s still aggressive and willing to take on any young up-and-comer put in front of him.  Against Jake Collier, Arlovski is going to do what he’s done since his pro debut in 1999, trade hands and let the chips fall where they may.
If inflation were a person, it would be Jake Collier.  Collier used to compete as low as middleweight, but he ballooned and now has to cut weight to make the two hundred sixty-five pound heavyweight limit.  Even though he has the hand speed of a sloth, Collier has landed over one hundred significant strikes in two of his last three bouts.  Collier’s mount is inescapable and requires a forklift to get him off you.  In his last fight, Collier mounted PC Principal Chase Sherman in the first round, and Sherman looked helpless.  Sherman looked like a deflated blowup doll underneath Collier.  Collier finished the fight in just over two minutes with a rear-naked choke.
Collier doesn’t have fight-ending one-punch power, but he puts hand and kick combinations together well and stays busy.  While Arlovski mostly relies on boxing, Collier uses more weapons and has an overall more diverse attack.  Arlovski has made a living recently by outworking his opponents and winning close decisions.  He won’t have that advantage against Collier and might need some significant moments like knockdowns to out-point Collier.
The telling stat on Jake Collier is that he has alternated between wins and losses since his debut in 2014.  He has never won or lost two fights in a row, and he’s coming off a win.  Fantasy-wise, Collier will provide a better shot at scoring a finish.  Arlovski’s chin is questionable at this late stage of his career, and Collier has the added advantage of being able to relocate the fight.  This is a complete toss-up.  I think the stats favor Collier pulling out a decision by using a higher output, but Arlovski has been on quite a roll lately.  Andrei Arlovski via decision.
Winner: Andrei Arlovski | Method: Decision
Arlovski
Arlovski
Throoooowback
Throoooowback
Joanderson Brito (+195) vs. Andre “Touchy” Fili (-245)
Brito: DK: $6.9k | Fili: DK: $9.3k
This is a matchup between a man with a nickname that can get him banned on all social media platforms, and a mass-produced fighting machine turned out in factories all over Brazil.
Besides having the best nickname in MMA, Fili has had a hell of a seventeen-fight UFC career dating back to 2013.  Although his 9-7-1 UFC record isn’t overwhelmingly impressive, Fili has fought almost every big name in the featherweight division.  In his last fight against Daniel Pineda, Fili kicked ass much ass as humanly possible without scoring a dub.  The fight was ruled a no-contest after an accidental eye poke right before it looked like Fili was about to finish it.
Fili has underrated dynamic striking and can fight naturally out of both stances.  Most fighters who switch stances are what I call hand towel southpaws.  It’s just for show and has no practical use, like the hand towels wifey won’t let you wipe your ass with.  Fili uses tactical stance switches to set up specific strikes like head kicks and overhands, depending on the opponent’s defensive weaknesses.
On the mat, Fili is a seasoned grappler with excellent defensive Jiu-Jitsu and is tough to take down unless you’re Bryce Mitchell.  If Fili can keep the fight standing, he’ll have the advantage in every category except for power.  Fili is an accumulative finisher, using volume over extended periods to batter and break his opponents.  If Fili ends up on his back, he’s a good scrambler that won’t accept the position without trying to get back to his feet.
If you’ve ever seen a Brazilian fight, then you’ve seen Joanderson Brito fight before.  There’s probably fifty Brito’s in the UFC right now, all with the same rounded shoulders and squared plodding stance.  Although he would’ve only been six-years-old, Brito was an extra in the classic zombie movie 28 Days Later.  He never stops marching forward, even when all kinds of projectiles are whizzing by his head.  Brito is a broken directional pad stuck on forward and wouldn’t move his head if you held a gun to it.
But Brito throws heavy short, round punches with power you have to respect.  Technically, Brito’s striking borders on wrestler striking, basic combos with heavy power and plenty of speed.  Like many Brazilian fighters, Brito has periods of hyper aggression when he just says “F it” and just starts swinging for the fences.  The path to victory for Brito will clearly be on the mat.  Brito uses intermittent heavy ground and pound, punctuated with nasty elbows, and will rack up significant strikes numbers from the position.
It’s best to avoid MMA math, but Brito struggled to score takedowns against a much less formidable “Oh-No Mr. Bill” Algeo in his UFC debut.  He lost a close decision, and that doesn’t bode well for him against a more dangerous fighter in “Touchy” Fili.  But Brito is a finisher with five subs and five TKO/KO’s in twelve career wins.  If he scores a finish, it will likely be on the mat.  But I’m taking Andre Fili to control the fight from the outside with a steady barrage of long jabs and kicks.  Andre Fili via decision.
Winner: Andre Fili | Method: Decision
Andre Fili
Andre Fili
Never answer the shin phone
Never answer the shin phone
Jared Gordon (+150) vs. Grant Dawson (-175)
Gordon: DK: $7.5k | Kape: DK: $8.7k
Other than the main event, this is one of the best fights on the card and will feature high-level grappling exchanges.  Jared Gordon is a grimy mother-shut-your-mouf and an all-around excellent and underrated fighter, and Grant Dawson is a highly touted wrestler with a 5-0-1 UFC record.
Jared Gordon is the better all-around fighter, but Grant Dawson has a specialty that is superior to any of Gordon’s skillsets.  The striking advantage will be Gordon’s.  He uses a higher output and consistently throws two to three-punch combinations.  Grant Dawson has stiff action figure boxing with heavy rear-leg round kicks.  His striking is more of a formality before he shoots and takes the fight to the mat.
The grappling edge will go to the dominant wrestler Grant Dawson, but Jared Gordon has a knack for defending takedowns and ending up in the top position.  Gordon forces scrambles and has solid wrestling of his own.  But Dawson’s entire game is wrestling-based, and few have been able to fend off his takedowns.  The key will be if Gordon can end up in the top position.  Grant Dawson looked like a slip and fall scammer in the juice isle in his last bout against Ricky Glenn when he ended up in the bottom position in the third round.  Dawson was up a clear two rounds to nil heading into the third but managed to squander the lead.  He was all but unconscious at the final bell after surviving a last second D’arce choke but lost the round 10-8, resulting in a draw.
Dawson opened as the (-175) favorite, making Jared Gordon a live underdog with plenty of value.  Dawson faded late in his last fight, and Gordon has the style to put Dawson in some bad positions.  If Gordon can keep the fight standing for long stretches, he’ll have the advantage.  I don’t see any finishing points coming from this one, but if it were to end before the allotted fifteen minutes, it would likely be Dawson getting his hand raised via submission.  Eleven of his seventeen career dubs have come by submission.  But in twenty-two career scraps, Gordon has never been submitted.  Give me the dog and a can of Alpo; Jared Gordon via decision.
Winner: Jared Gordon | Method: Decision
Jared Gordon
Jared Gordon
Darren Elkins (-175) vs Tristan Connelly (+145)
Elkins: DK: $8.6k | Connelly: DK: $7.6k
Darren Elkins is an inglorious bastard.  He is never giving up personified.  He’s the Tom Brady of comebacks inside the Octagon.  He’s the doodie that won’t flush when you’re at the in-law’s house.  It’s near impossible to submit Elkins; the Champ Charles Oliveira is the only fighter to submit Elkins eleven years ago.  Mobb Deep wrote a classic Hip Hop banger about Darren Elkins called Survival of the Fittest.  Elkins is a throwback to early 1900’s boxing when there were no round limits, and fights would go on for literally one hundred rounds on occasion.  Elkins can fight for forty days and forty nights without his heart rate reaching one hundred bpm’s. 
Elkins’s bread and butter is relentless wrestling and suffocating clinch and top control.  He’s technically sound on the mat, maintaining head-over-head pressure and wrist control, making it difficult for opponents to post and scramble back to their feet.  The big hole in his game is closing the distance.  Elkins tends to close the distance recklessly, marching straight forward without changing levels or defending strikes on the way in.  The biggest deficit Elkins has to overcome in every fight is speed; he has buffering hand speed, his strikes often pause halfway through downloading.
This will be Darren Elkins’ twenty-sixth UFC fight, and there hasn’t been a single one that didn’t end with the canvas painted red with his blood.  He bleeds when they rub the Vaseline on him; he’s thin-skinned but can take a joke; he’s Parks and Rec single-ply tp that turns wiping into a borderline explicit act. 
Stop now and go watch Tristan Connelly’s first fight in the UFC against Michel Pereira.  I’ve referenced this fight when writing about Pereira; he came out swinging from the rafters like the wrestler Sting joined Cirque Du Soleil.  Homie was jumping off the cage and doing backflips and even executed the first-ever backflip guard pass.  
Connelly took that fight on short notice in front of his hometown fans and was a massive underdog.  Connelly won the fight.  Tristan was at a huge size disadvantage, and he took everything Pereira had and continued to march him down, score takedowns, and grind him out.  The third round was all Connelly; he bullied Pereira from the top position and punished him with heavy ground and pound.  Tristan Connelly is a dog.  That fight was at welterweight and he now competes at featherweight.  That’s a twenty-five pound difference.
The big question is, can Tristan Connelly stop Darren Elkins’ takedowns and take the fight to the ground on his own terms?  IDK, why are some farts hot.  It’s anyone’s guess.  This is a card full of dogs, and these are two RAL’s (running at large) right here.  Elkins opened as the (-155) favorite, making Connelly another underdog so saturated with value he’s practically see-thru.  Pat Sabatini dominated Connelly on the mat in Connelly’s last bout, but I think this matchup is more suited for Tristan to be more offensive.  He beat Michel Pereira, homies.  Bust out the milk bones; I’m taking another dog.  Tristan Connelly via decision.
Winner: Tristan Connelly | Method: Decision
Tristan Connelly
Tristan Connelly
Krzysztof Jotko (-175) vs Gerald Meerschaert (+145)
Jotko: DK: $8.8k | Meerschaert: DK:$7.4k
This is going to be an ugly pick em’ this week.  These fights are all complete and utter toss-ups.  Gerald Meerschaert is best known for the low-light of him being one-punch KO’d by Khamzat Chimaev.  Before UFC 273, he must have had to watch himself getting tucked into bed with a bah-bah five hundred times.  That shit was on repeat on every TV in every airport and Applebee’s in America.
Krzysztof Jotko, on the other hand, is best known for… well, nothing.  The only thing that makes Jotko unique is that he’s the only person on earth with two z’s in his first name.  He’s a fairly average kickboxer and objectophile.  Like the lady who married the Eiffel Tower, Jotko is highly attracted to the cage.  He can’t stay away from it, and I think it goes deeper than just being a bad habit.  Jotko is a southpaw with a broken joystick who only circles towards his lead hand, and he often gets stuck against the cage where he can’t use his best weapon, range.  Overall, there’s no flare, no “Wooooo!” to Jotko’s striking; he’s very vanilla and tends to use basic repetitive attacks.  He’s just kinda forgettable.  Who is?  Exactly.
Gerald Meerschaert is an uber veteran with a professional record of 34-14 with twenty-six career submissions.  I’ll say this about Gerald, he rebounded as few would after that vicious KO to Khamzat.  He came back with three straight submission wins.  Meerschaert (type his name three times, it’s exhausting) is known for his bottom of the ninth walk-off submissions.  He’s a lot like Paul Craig, who can be losing an entire fight and pull off a last-second dub.  I ain’t hear no bell.  He’s Randy Marsh scrappin’ Bat Dad in the stands.
If Meerschaert (I’m just copying and pasting at this point) can’t get this fight to the mat, we will watch Jotko dance around in a circle for fifteen minutes and win a decision.  Meerschaert’s hands come with insured delivery in case they get lost in transit; they’re slow and lumbering, and you’d have to be Chris Rock to not be able to avoid them.  Meerschaert’s only path to victory is on the mat, and his prowess there makes him another valuable underdog.   
Jotko opened as the sizeable (-175) favorite, but his odds to finish the fight are far below Meerschaert’s.  If Gerald wins this fight, it will be by submission.  The Fantasy option here is Meerschaert, as Jotko is not a high output fighter, especially against a wrestler looking to take him down.  If Jotko wins, it will be by scoring just enough from the outside for fifteen mins.  I’m holding four leashes like a professional dog walker.  Give me Gerald Meerschaert via rear-naked choke, round three.
Winner: Gerald Meerschaert | Method: Rear-Naked Choke Rd.3
Geral Meerschaert
Geral Meerschaert
Prelims
Highlighted Fighter
Chase Sherman (+900) vs Alexander Romanov (-2000)*Not A Typo
Sherman: DK: $6.6k | Romanov: DK:$9.6k
This is déjà vu if you read the Weekly KO last week.  And if you didn’t, shame on you.  This was postponed the day of the fight last week but immediately rescheduled.  It still remains the most interesting fight on the undercard mostly, not mostly, strictly because of Alexander Romanov.  So here you go; from last week:
They’re not going the distance.  They’re not going for speed.  They’re all alone, all alone in their time of need.  There’s zero chance this fight goes the full fifteen minutes.  Alexander Romanov’s original opponent was Tanner Boser.  Romanov was a (-550) favorite and I planned on betting the Thunderdome (my one car garage and world class training facility) on Tanner Boser.  That went out the window as PC Principal aka Chase Sherman steps in on short notice.
One of two things will happen: 1) Alexander Romanov will storm across the cage, pick Chase Sherman up, suplex him on his head, beat on him, and choke him out with a forearm across his windpipe.  Hopefully, Sherman is into that sort of thing.  2) Roman will storm across the cage, pick Chase Sherman up, suplex him on his head, and beat on him until the ref stops it.
Alexander Romanov is 15-0, including 4-0 in the UFC, and will be entering as the massive (-550) favorite.  Romanov has finished fourteen of his fifteen professional wins and is hell in fight shorts for the first five to seven minutes.  Against Juan Espino, Romanov couldn’t secure the early finish and gassed out like a pale Greg Hardy, only to be saved by an illegal knee and an accompanying Daniel Day-Lewis Master Class performance by Romanov that led to the fight being stopped while Romanov was still ahead on the scorecards.  Had the fight continued, Romanov would currently be 14-1.  
It thought Tanner Boser would be able to weather the storm and finish Romanov late, but that will not be the case for Chase Sherman.  If Boser was a (-380) dog, Sherman should be around the (+1000) range.  Alexander Romanov via forearm choke, round one.
Winner: Alexander Romanov | Method: Forearm Choke Rd.1
Twenty-Twen-Twen Sleepers
Twenty-Ten-Twen Sleeper
One name: Chase Sher— GTFOH! Of all the underdogs I’ve picked, the one I’m most confident in is Gerald Meerschaert. This dude finds ways to win, especially when you think he’s going to lose. Twenty-six career submissions say it all. If he can get Jotko to the mat, Jotko’s gonna have a bad time.
Jared Gordon at (+150) has a ton of value. This guy has faced the highest level of grapplers in the UFC like Charles Oliveira and is coming off a win against highly touted grappler Joe Solecki. He will be behind in this fight and need a late comeback, but I think he can make Grant Dawson work the entire fifteen minutes and wear him down.
Pick ‘Em
Daniel Lacerda (-120) vs. Francisco Figueiredo (+110)
 
            Winner: Francisco Figueiredo
            Method: Decision
Gabriel Green (-120) vs. Yohan Lainesse (+100)
 
            Winner: Gabriel Green
            Method: Decision
Natan Levy (-200) vs. Mike Breeden (+160)
    Winner: Natan Levy
            Method: Decision
Gina Mazany (-185) vs. Shanna Young (+145)
    Winner: Gina Mazany
            Method: Decision
Tatsuro Taira (-265) vs. Carlos Candelario (+200)
    Winner: Tatsuro Taira
            Method: Decision
Thanks for reading LineStar Weekly Knockout! We’ll be back next Thursday with another one. Until then, good luck and support your local MMA Gym.
About Me
My name is Chris Guy, and I’m an avid combat sports enthusiast and practitioner. I’ve been a fan of MMA since the early 2000s when Limewire was still around, and I downloaded Bas Rutten’s Big Book of Combat. In 2004, I started training Muay Thai at City Boxing in San Diego, CA. I competed as an amateur for many years, and I’ve also dabbled in Jiu-Jitsu. I follow many different disciplines, such as Combat Ji-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Glory Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA.
I’m equally as enthusiastic about the craft of writing, and in addition to writing about combat sports, I also write short fiction and music. I hope to bring unique prose to sports writing, and along the way, encourage people to not only become Martial Arts fans but to also become Martial Artists themselves. 
In the future, you may see me refer to the Thunderdome; it’s an ode to the old Mad Max movie and refers to the world-class training facility I built in my one-car garage. It’s complete with throw dummies, wrestling mats, heavy bags, and six months’ worth of Chef Boyardee cans from when I thought the world was going to end back in March. I hope you enjoy my work, and if you don’t, the Thunderdome has an open door policy. 
Check out my Podcast The Whiskey (S)ick Podcast on Apple and Spotify. Parental Advisory Warning
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Chris Guy (MMA Expert)
Chris Guy (MMA Expert) @LineStarApp

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