UFC on ESPN 35: Font vs. Vera Odds, Schedule, Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2022

UFC on ESPN 35: Font vs. Vera Odds, Schedule, Predictions

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    A key bantamweight contest between Rob Font and Marlon "Chito" Vera anchors the UFC on ESPN 35 card from the APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

    Font came in at 2.5 pounds over the 136-pound allowance to make the bout an official bantamweight contest. However, the main event will go on as scheduled. 

    That's good news for fight fans as it is easily the most significant fight on the card. Both 135ers are hoping to add an important bullet point on their title shot resume. 

    In the co-main event, Jake Collier will look to get past heavyweight veteran Andrei Arlovski, and Joanderson Brito will test himself against featherweight mainstay Andre Fili. 

    Here's a look at the complete card along with a closer look at the biggest bouts.  

Fight Card, Schedule and Odds—April 30

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    Main Card (ESPN/ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET)

    • Rob Font (-125, bet $125 to win $100) vs. Marlon Vera (+105, bet $100 to win $105)
    • Andrei Arlovski (-130) vs. Jake Collier (+110)
    • Joanderson Brito (+200) vs. Andre Fili (-250)
    • Grant Dawson (-190) vs. Jared Gordon (+160)
    • Tristan Connelly (+150) vs. Darren Elkins (-170)
    • Krzysztof Jotko (-180) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+155)

    Prelims (ESPN2/ESPN+, 4 p.m. ET)

    • Alexandr Romanov (-2200) vs. Chase Sherman (+1100)
    • Daniel Lacerda (-135) vs. Francisco Figueiredo (+115)
    • Gabe Green (-140) vs. Yohan Lainesse (+120)
    • Mike Breeden (+170) vs. Natan Levy (-200)
    • Gina Mazany (-180) vs. Shanna Young (+155)
    • Carlos Candelario (+195) vs. Tatsuro Taira (-240)

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook 

Font vs. Vera

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    Rob Font enters the main event ranked just inside the top five of the division, while Vera is on the outside looking in at No. 8. 

    The problem for both fighters is that they have been in the division for a while and are still in need of another dominant performance or two to get into title contention. 

    For Font, it's about rebounding from his loss to Jose Aldo at the end of 2021. The legendary Brazilian snapped Font's four-fight win streak. Coming off wins against Marlon Moraes and Cody Garbrandt, it was easily the most momentum he has had in his career. 

    Vera is already on the upswing from his own loss to Aldo. He got a crack at the former champion after knocking out Sean O'Malley, but he lost by decision before beating Davey Grant and Frankie Edgar. 

    This is going to be a fun fight, and it's likely it goes all five rounds with lots of kickboxing. Font probably holds the advantage as a point fighter with leg kicks and a solid jab. However, Vera is a little more powerful. 

    If the fight does go the distance, it is to Font's advantage. Vera is just 3-7 when a fight goes the distance. 

    Prediction: Font via decision 

Arlovski vs. Collier

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    Andrei Arlovski's late-career arc has been fascinating to watch. He's like an old power forward who used to be an explosive above-the-rim dunker who carved out a second career as a crafty veteran with a trusty fadeaway jumper. 

    The 43-year-old is now more than 16 years removed from his days as the UFC heavyweight champion. Yet he still keeps racking up wins against much younger competition. 

    He'll look to keep that going against Jake Collier. The 33-year-old was actually supposed to be fighting Justin Tafa, but he withdrew from the fight. 

    That could actually be bad news for Collier. Tafa is a relatively inexperienced power striker who relies heavily on his own athleticism and strength to win fight. Instead, he's going to face a wise and slick Arlovski. 

    Collier's inexperience and general inability to put together a win streak make it hard to pick him here. He hasn't put together back-to-back wins since joining the UFC in 2014. 

    That's not going to change here. 

    Prediction: Arlovski via decision 

Gordon vs. Dawson

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    Jared Gordon and Grant Dawson are separated from the main event by two fights on the card, but it's really the second-most important fight on the card. 

    Neither guy is ranked in the lightweight division, but the winner should be well on their way to top-15 consideration. 

    Dawson remains unbeaten in the UFC. Since being signed in 2017, he has won five fights and saw his last bout go to a majority draw. The problem for him is that he's a wrestler through and through. There isn't much else to his game even if his striking has shown some improvement. 

    That's going to be a problem if Dawson wants to make a name for himself in one of the sport's most exciting divisions. 

    Gordon is on a hot streak of his own with three straight wins. The last of which came by split decision against Joe Solecki. 

    Gordon is the slightly better striker here. If Dawson commits to sticking with his wrestling, this is probably a unanimous decision. However, if he chooses to try to show his striking, he could get caught early. 

    Prediction: Gordon via first-round TKO


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