At UFC 175 on Saturday Night, Rob Font stormed onto the bantamweight scene with his first-round knockout of George Roop in the opening bout on the Fox Sports 1 prelims. The win gave the Team Sityodtong fighter his 10th straight victory and his third first-round finish of 2014.
Roop was a legitimate test for Font in his first fight at 135 pounds. Roop has finished fighters like Chan Sung Jung, Brian Bowles and Josh Grispi and was the much taller fighter. Font typically closes the distance against his opponents by running with looping hooks, and that’s exactly what he did in the fight with Roop, landing a thunderous right hand that sent Roop crashing to the canvas.
It wasn’t a long fight, as the finish came at 2:19 of the first frame, but he earned a "Performance of the Night” bonus for his quick work and is eager to get back in the cage right away. Font’s 11-1 professional record speaks for itself, and his post-fight proclamation that Octagon jitters are a lie should tell you he is ready for anyone in the division.
Speaking to reporters after his fight, Font mentioned he wants to return to action quickly and whom he’d like to face next, saying:
Honestly, I think Sergio Pettis would be an awesome fight. If we could make that happen, that would be great, but [aside from Pettis] it doesn’t really matter who else. I’d love to get in there as soon as possible.
It’s a tough division, T.J.’s the man. Everybody is going to be a tough fight. I’m ready, I’m here. I felt like I proved that I’m here to stay, and I want to get back in there as soon as possible.
When asked why he wanted the fight with “The Phenom,” Font had this to say:
I really feel like he’s a 125er, and he shouldn’t be at 135. I think it would be a great fight for the fans. No disrespect to him, I think he’s awesome. I think beating Sergio Pettis would be a little better than beating George Roop, because he’s that good, he’s solid, and I just think it would be a great fight for the fans.
A fight with Pettis would be a treat for the fans, as both men fight at a brisk pace, and their explosive striking styles would match up well against one another.
The UFC is headed to New England for a September 5 show at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, which isn’t far from where Font put in work at CES MMA shows in Lincoln, Rhode Island. If the fight with Pettis isn't in the cards, matchups with fighters a bit higher up the ladder like Erik Perez or Alex Caceres would be interesting tests for the newly established bantamweight.
We learned in this fight Font is capable of putting on a show on the big stage, and his call-up to the UFC didn’t come a moment too soon. He comes from an extremely well-rounded team headed up by Mark Dellagrotte at Sityodtong Academy in Somerville, Massachusetts and Mike Gresh at Cape Cod Fighting Alliance in Wareham and has the tools to make the 135-pound division in the UFC that much more interesting.
He's going to need a few more performances similar to UFC 175 to really register in the minds of most fans, but earning a $50,000 performance bonus after a first-round knockout on the biggest show of the year is not a bad way to start.