In 2016, Davey Grant came out of the octagon as the victor against Marlon Vera via unanimous decision. Five years later, the two veterans of the sport got to run it back and both got awarded the fight of the night bonus.
I was a big fan of this rematch when I first heard about it, but I was a bit skeptical on Chito Vera’s motivation after his loss to Jose Aldo. Davey Grant was coming off of a three fight winning streak and I felt like he had a lot of momentum behind him to possibly run through Vera, but both guys showed how much heart they had.
What went down
Davey Grant was out striking Chito throughout most of the first round and the beginning of the second round. Grant had more pop in his punches compared to Vera, but do not underestimate Vera’s clinch game and toughness. One thing that I learned in this fight is that Vera has a tough chin and he knows how to make it ugly.
Chito Vera started busting out the elbows in the second round whenever he got a grip on Grant. After being cut by vicious elbows like their last fight together, it was easy to see Grant’s gameplan slowly slipping away. Despite Grant landing more punches on the outside, Vera was able to do more damage to him. Once Grant started respecting Vera, it was easy for Vera to walk down Grant’s striking.
I was also impressed by the grappling that was displayed by the two fighters. The scrambling was very technical. There was a moment where Grant had a guillotine on Vera, but somehow Vera was able to get a hold of Grant’s leg to transition to a leg lock. You can tell that both fighters are experienced on the ground, but Vera had the edge in experience in this fight.
What now for Marlon Vera
Chito Vera got the decision win and avenged his loss to Davey Grant back in 2016. In his post fight interview, he called out Dominick Cruz who was in the commentating booth of the fight. The matchup would be intriguing and I think it is a good test for Vera to see if he is a top tier bantamweight.
I personally think he is a top 10 fighter, but Vera definitely has holes in his game such as his boxing. If he wants to stick in the top 10, he needs to learn how to put more pop in his punches or utilize it to transition into the clinch. After seeing this performance, Vera’s strengths lie in the clinch, on the ground, and his kicking.
Chito Vera is a tough fighter and he loves to bring it every fight. I am excited to see his next performance and I am sure many fans would love to watch him fight Dominick Cruz. I personally think Vera deserves the fight.
© 2021 Jason Xiao