The APEX Center in Las Vegas, NV was home to a great evening of fights at UFC Vegas 53: Font vs. Vera. The card saw three (T)KOs, three submissions, and five decisions, including one split-decision.
FOTN: Font vs. Vera
POTN: Joanderson Brito, Francisco Figueiredo
The prelims opened with a fun fight between Shanna Young and Gina Mazany that saw Young in trouble in the early goings, but after an adjustment between rounds, she came back strong in round two, overwhelming Mazany with strikes after giving up her back. That was followed by Natan Levy and Mike Breeden putting on a punishing war that was the very definition of brutal. Back and forth it went with both men having big moments but it would be Levy taking the hard-fought unanimous decision. Gabriel Green notched a breakout performance when he defeated Yohan Lainesse via TKO in the second round after a super fun scrap. Francisco Figueiredo snatched a lightning quick submission over Daniel da Silva when he secured a kneebar just 78 seconds into the fight. Alexandr Romanov wasted no time powering Chase Sherman to the mat, forcing the returning Sherman to struggle mightily just to regain his footing. He wouldn’t remain upright long, though. Romanov rushed him with another big takedown, then, after raining down strikes, put Chase out of his misery with an Americana and closing out the undercard.
Preliminary Card (4 PM ET, ESPN2/ESPN+)
- Alexandr Romanov vs. Chase Sherman via submission (Americana) at 2:11 of Round 1
- Daniel de Silva vs. Francisco Figueiredo via submission (kneebar) at 1:18 of Round 1
- Gabriel Green def. Yohan Lainesse via TKO (strikes) at 4:02 of Round 2
- Natan Levy def. Mike Breeden via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Shanna Young def. Gina Mazany via TKO (strikes) at 3:11 of Round 2
The main card opened with a grindy battle between Gerald Meerschaert and Krzysztof Jotko that saw Jotko unsurprisingly control the standup effectively with technical striking, while keeping the action in his wheelhouse as much as possible. Meerschaert was even controlled on the ground by the more athletic Jotko, who took an easy unanimous decision victory. Darren Elkins and Tristan Connelly also had a grinder of a fight that seemed to be a carbon copy of Elkins’ last couple wins—a gnarly brawl where Elkins took a ton of damage, persevered, then pulled out the unanimous decision win. Grant Dawson extended his win streak to 10-in-a-row when he defeated Jared Gordon via rear-naked choke after quite a ferocious battle with the New Yorker. Joanderson Brito provided the commentary booth plenty to go nuts over when he launched an overhand right that ended Andre Fili’s night just 41 seconds into the fight. Brito went on to reveal that his uncle had passed away earlier this morning. After a back-and-forth brawl that included a few accidental head butts and several big bombs, Andrei Arlovski would notch yet another win when he defeated Jake Collier via split-decision. Side note: Andrei said that chewing gum every day strengthened his chin.
The headliner was an all-out war between Rob Font and Marlon Vera. Font saw the early success in round one, but Vera turned up the heat in round two, dropping Font and launching all manner of jump knees, punches, elbows, the kitchen sink...you name it. Ditto for round three, where Font was dropped again and was saved by the bell from having the fight stopped. Vera’s knees were the real stars of this fight. Round four consisted of Font coming out game as ever and landing some solid shots, but Chito had him figured out and defended well, heaping damage in the form of high kicks, one of which dropped Font for a third time. Round five was just a blood bath. Again Font came out ready to rock and again Vera tuned him up and landed some high kicks in the final seconds that clearly wobbled Rob, and had it not been for the cage holding him up, he would’ve gone down again. It was an absolute war, but a one-sided mauling by Vera. Chito absorbed 223 significant strikes and barely had a scratch on him.
Main Card (7 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN+)
- Marlon Vera def, Rob Font via unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 48-47)
- Andrei Arlovski def. Jake Collier via split-decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
- Joanderson Brito def. Andre Fili via TKO (overhand right to strikes) at :41 of Round 1
- Jared Gordon vs. Grant Dawson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:11 of Round 3
- Darren Elkins def. Tristan Connelly via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Krzysztof Jotko def. Gerald Meerschaert via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)