Image: Chito Vera - Facebook

The Bantamweight Shark Tank, Part 1: Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera

Following the disappointing initial cancellation of UFC 249. I’ve decided to take a detailed look at one of my favourite divisions in the ultimate fighting championship, the 135-pound division. In my own opinion, I am going to go through some of the hidden gems of the division and who I feel can step up, post COVID-19, or during if the UFC successfully hold events and can make a run for UFC gold.

I’m not going to give you the guys you know, Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling, Marlon Moraes and company. I’m going to show you what talent is next to burst onto that top 5 scene.

Marlon Chito Vera 17-5-1


First appearing on our screens on TUF series for Latin America, as part of Team Werdum, Vera came to attention with a KO of Enrique Briones in his first fight. Unfortunately, a skin infection kept him off the remainder of the show but UFC brass had seen enough to offer him a contract.

Vera is an overall well-rounded striker with a clinical ground game. While his grappling and wrestling are ever-improving, he is as game as anyone in the division. His ability to control and counter people on the feet is only matched by his impressive grappling and ground game.

A black belt from 10th planet his ground game has proven to be his underrated speciality. Currently riding an impressive 5 fight win streak, he’s been unlucky with some cancelled bouts against higher competition. Fights with O’Malley, Borg, Riviera and Almeida have all fallen through by different means but Vera continues to impress in fights he has had.

Frankie Saenz was next to fall to his power with a quick finish. “Chito” looked to capitalise on some size advantage but his quick stand up that we spoke about, put end to Frankies early. Frankie was coming off a good win against Merab Dvalsihvili. On MMA math this proves to be some very good form.

Newcomer Nohelin Hernandez was next to feel his wrath. He got subdued by the black belt after lob sided round one with Vera stuck on his back from early in the first, getting the submission in round 2.He followed this up with an impressive win against the well talked about Andre Ewell. Ewell, known as a heavy-handed pro, took a beating by Vera over two and a half rounds both on the feet and on the ground, in what was Vera’s best performance to date. This was the last fight of his current five-fight win streak and has seen him been unlucky with fights against Jimmy Rivera (cancelled due to injury to Rivera) and Ray Borg (COVID 19).

His two UFC losses are to highly talented vets in Lineker and Douglas Andrade and, for mine, both losses have served as a good learning curve to Vera’s current form.

A true rags to riches from the streets of Ecuador, expect to see Marlon Vera name rise the ranks this year but make no mistake this battle is taking on all comers once UFC continues after COVID 19.


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