UFC on ESPN 35 Results: Marlon Vera Beats Rob Font via Decision in Main Event

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 30: (R-L) Marlon Vera of Ecuador kicks Rob Font in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Chris Unger/Getty Images

Marlon "Chito" Vera scored a well-deserved unanimous-decision victory to close out UFC on ESPN 35 from the Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Neither fighter failed to deliver in the excitement department. The two bantamweights went at each other for a solid five rounds. It was just Vera's power that served as the difference.

Font got off to his typical strong start in the first round. He was able to establish his jab and forward pressure with Vera offering little reprisal to stop him.

That changed in the second as Vera started to get more comfortable. He established his own rhythm as a counterstriker, and the chess match was on.

UFC Europe @UFCEurope

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Vera put an exclamation point on the second round with a clean left hand that floored Font and had him scrambling just to survive the round.

UFC @ufc

SAVED BY THE BELL 🔔 #UFCVegas53 https://t.co/qpx31Wucmn

It was deja vu all over again in the third round. Vera landed a massive knee at the end of the round that nearly ended the fight once again and officially swung the fight in his favor on the cards.

UFC @ufc

This is your reminder that you kneed to be watching this fight 🍿 #UFCVegas53 https://t.co/LitihM1s8U

Vera was close to stopping the fight once again in Round 4, but Font's toughness prevailed. Despite getting rocked once again, Font forged ahead with the same game plan.

While Chito wasn't able to draw the finish, he did enough to earn the win and raise his stock in the competitive bantamweight division.

Here's a look at who else had a good night on the UFC on ESPN card.


Main Card (7 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN+)

  • Marlon Vera def. Rob Font via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46 x2)
  • Andrei Arlovski def. Jake Collier via split decision (27-30, 29-28 x2)
  • Joanderson Brito def. Andre Fili via TKO at 0:41 of Round 1
  • Grant Dawson def. Jared Gordon 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)

Prelims (4 PM ET, ESPN2/ESPN+)

  • Alexandr Romanov def. Chase Sherman via submission (Americana) at 2:11 of Round 1
  • Francisco Figueiredo def. Daniel Da Silva via submission (kneebar) at 1:18 of Round 1
  • Gabriel Green def. Yohan Lainesse via TKO at 4:02 of Round 2
  • Natan Levy def. Mike Breeden via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)
  • Shanna Young def. Gina Mazany via TKO at 3:11 of Round 2


Andrei Arlovski def. Jake Collier

The heavyweights delivered in the co-main event with a three-round slobber knocker that saw Andrei Arlovski add another win to his impressive resume via split decision.

Jake Collier attempted to control the fight through his clinch wrestling. He was successful enough to make it a split decision and certainly maintained the control for stretches.

But when the two started throwing blows, it was Arlovski who held the upper hand. His punches still had plenty of sting even at his advanced age.

Shaheen Al-Shatti @shaunalshatti

Andrei Arlovski's current 4-fight win streak is now tied for his best UFC win streak since 2002-05. That is not a typo. #UFCVegas53

What Arlovski is doing at 43 years old is nothing short of incredible. It's been more than 16 years since he was a UFC champion, but he continues to pile up wins in the organization against much younger fighters.

Collier learned the hard way that it still takes a great outing to put away The Pit Bull.


Joanderson Brito def. Andre Fili

There's no denying that Joanderson Brito was one of the biggest winners of the night. After losing in his UFC debut, he drew an experienced Andre Fili in his second fight but made the most of it with a first-round technical knockout.

Fili—who typically wins with his boxing—looked to strike with Brito early. Both fighters fired off jabs, but Brito earned the knockout when a looping follow-up right hand landed cleanly and sent Fili to the floor.

UFC @ufc

OHHHHH MYYYYYY 😳 Joanderson Brito gets it done LIGHTNING quick! #UFCVegas53 https://t.co/BJ2JoCZWXm

This was a marked improvement from Brito's first fight in the UFC, when he lost to Bill Algeo by decision. This version of him looked more like the one who earned his contract through Dana White's Contender Series.

Fili is not an easy man to knock out. This is his first knockout or TKO loss since 2016, and he has only been knocked out three times. Brito did it in under a minute.


Grant Dawson def. Jared Gordon

The first finish of the main card came courtesy of Grant Dawson, but it took him some time to get it. After a gritty fight with Jared Gordon, he locked in a rear-naked choke and drew the tap with just over 45 seconds left in the third round.

Up until the finish, it was a back-and-forth affair with plenty of grappling exchanges. But Dawson's ability to secure the win by finding a submission with under a minute remaining is a great sign for his prospects going forward.

UFC Europe @UFCEurope

Paging Top 15 opposition 📲 🐍 @DawsonGrant20Y1 sinks in the RNC with less than a minute left in the fight! #UFCVegas53 https://t.co/4pWw5jicPf

The lightweight is getting harder to ignore. His last bout was a majority draw against Ricky Glenn, but that's the only blemish on his UFC record.

Gordon is a tough out in the division. The loss snaps a three-fight win streak for him. The fact that Dawson was a late replacement makes this an even tougher pill to swallow.


Darren Elkins def. Tristan Connelly

If you don't have elite defensive wrestling or fight-stopping power, fighting Darren Elkins is going to be a bad time.

That life maxim was proved true once again, as Elkins wrestled his way to a unanimous decision over Tristan Connelly. Elkins' typical pressure and heavy wrestling proved to be too much for Connelly to overcome.

Elkins was in his face early and spent plenty of time in control of Connelly's back. The closest he came to finishing the fight was a rear-naked choke attempt in the third round:

UFC Europe @UFCEurope

Darren Elkins fights, in a nutshell. 📸 They don't make 'em like The Damage! #UFCVegas53 https://t.co/apHWP4y50K

Elkins couldn't get the finish, but it was a vintage Elkins performance that now has him at 16 wins in the featherweight division.


Krzysztof Jotko vs. Gerald Meerschaert

Krzysztof Jotko vs. Gerald Meerschaert looked like a close matchup on paper, but it certainly didn't play out that way. Jotko put forth one of the most complete performances of his career in a lopsided decision win.

Jotko brought his typical strong wrestling with four takedowns, per ESPN's Fightcenter. However, his striking looked improved, as he landed nearly 100 more significant strikes than Meerschaert.

The win keeps some positive momentum for the Polish fighter. He has now won back-to-back fights since his loss to Sean Strickland. Previous to that decision loss, he was on a three-fight winning streak, so it's getting harder to hold it against him.

He should at least be looking at a top-10 fighter in his next bout.