UFC Vegas 53 preview: Font-Vera a clash of styles

April 29, 2022 09:37 PM

UFC Vegas 53 Font vs. Vera will take place at the UFC APEX center where the smaller octagon is in use. For fights at featherweight (145 pounds) and smaller, finish rates run just 2% higher in the smaller 25-foot cage. That said, we have two heavyweight bouts in which finish rates rise 5% with those monsters being thrust into close confines.

Last week Insight the Octagon readers positioned with Jessica Andrade -170 in the first leg of a parlay ended up realizing outstanding value as she closed in the neighborhood of -225 for that bout.

Let’s take a peek at a couple of interesting matchups for this week’s event.

Rob Font (-130) vs. Marlon Vera (+ 110)

Bantamweight (135 pounds) | Main Event

This main event pairs fifth-ranked Font against eighth-ranked Vera.

Vera is an Ecuadorian fighter with a black belt in BJJ, superior striking and an aggressive demeanor. He’s 3-2 since 2020, has won his last two bouts and has beaten ranked competition. His only losses were to Song Yadong and Jose Aldo, elites in the division.

Notably, this is Vera’s first main event. Vera will control this fight if he can wrestle Font (55% takedown defense) to the floor.

Font is 4-1 in his last five, the lone loss coming in his last bout, a five-rounder against Aldo. Font surely learned much about himself as an elite bantamweight in that one, which was his first main event. His hands and deft footwork make him a dangerous boxer and striker.

These two are similarly sized with Font holding an inch advantage in arm reach, which will complement his striking, while Vera will aim to clasp onto Font and then take the fight into his realm.

This has the look of a tight, closely contested decision.

Font has never been stopped via a KO or TKO, but if Vera can take him to the mat, he’ll hold a great advantage.

Provided Font can keep this bout upright and at distance, then the fight favors him.

This bout is too close to call this early in the week.  

Total for this fight: Unreleased at time of publication.

Grant Dawson (-170) vs. Jared Gordon (+ 150)

Lightweight (155 pounds)

Similarly equipped fighters Dawson and Gordon should put on a 15-minute display of determination, heart, cardio and intense forward-pressure grappling/striking.

Gordon’s more comfortable on his feet and, though he’ll be at a four-inch reach disadvantage, he’s the more fluent striker and the one with more power. He’s the more well-rounded combatant.

Gordon’s been through extreme emotionally and physically trying times, which few other athletes have had to overcome. That said, he enters this fight with confidence flowing, having won his last three bouts in impressive fashion against highly rated competition.

This outcome is foundational for Gordon’s title aspirations in a talent-laden lightweight division. It’s a must-win for Gordon whose momentum, wrestling acumen and tough-mindedness will serve him well against this similarly gifted opponent.

Dawson’s size, wrestling base and determination have always been assets,  but cardio late in fights has not, though he always starts out strong. Heart and willingness have never been an issue with Dawson, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that he would jump camps from Glory MMA to ATT in Florida.

Each situation must be taken on its own, but Dawson leaving one competent camp for another may not be the elixir he thinks, especially because striking acumen and cardio do not come simply by changing addresses.

We’re going to witness two rabid dogs shake, rattle and roll with one another. Based on his well-rounded fight arsenal, motivation and slightly superior cardio, I expect Gordon to have the advantage, especially late in a bout that I line as much closer than current odds suggest.

Play: Gordon + 150.

Total for this fight: Unreleased at time of publication.

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