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