There’s been a late change to the UFC London main card. Bantamweight veteran Brad Pickett was scheduled to face Henry Briones, but for the third time in as many attempted bookings, Briones withdrew from the bout. Replacing Briones on just a weeks’ notice is Marlon Vera, as confirmed by UFC commentator Jon Anik during Saturday’s UFC Fortaleza broadcast.
Vera (8-3-1) is coming off a featherweight victory over Ning Guangyou at UFC Melbourne in November. “Chito” was part of the inaugural TUF Latin America cast, making his UFC debut at UFC 180 in June 2015. After dropping a decision to Marco Beltran, the Ecuadorian picked up a slick triangle choke win over Roman Salazar at UFC Nashville later that August. Vera would then lose by unanimous decision to Davey Grant in the last UFC London show in February 2016.
Pickett (25-13) has lost five of his last six, including a unanimous decision to Urijah Faber in his own retirement fight at UFC on FOX 22 in Sacramento. “One Punch” has long been one of the sport’s most entertaining fighters, earning a vast collection of post-fight bonuses dating back to his days in the WEC. After nearly 13 years competing as a professional, the Brit is planning to hang up the gloves after next week, win or lose.
UFC Fight Night London is set for Saturday, March 18th at The O2 Arena and airs exclusively on UFC Fight Pass, with light heavyweights Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson going toe-to-toe in the five-round main event.