UFC on ESPN 35: Font vs. Vera Preview

High-ranked UFC bantamweights Rob Font and Marlon Vera will test their skills in the main event of Saturday night’s “Fight Night” card. They’re scheduled to headline a 12-bout lineup that will go down at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Here’s a preview of the entire evening.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN2 / TSN 5)

Bout 1: Tatsuro Taira (10-0) vs. Carlos Candelario (8-1) (Flyweight)

A matchup between two flyweight UFC newcomers will kick off Saturday’s card. In the first bout of the evening, undefeated super-prospect Tatsuro Taira will face Carlos Candelario.

Taira is making his UFC debut after scoring 10 wins on the regional scene in Japan since turning pro in just 2018. The 22-year-old picked up a belt during his run, earning the Shooto Japan Flyweight Championship last year.

Canderlario appeared on the most recent season of “Dana White’s Contender Series.” While he lost his bout to Victor Altamirano on that card, both fighters were signed due to the performances they put on.

Bout 2: Gina Mazany (7-5) vs. Shanna Young (7-4) (Flyweight)

Flyweights Gina Mazany and Shanna Young will meet in the next bout.

Young will be fighting for her first UFC victory. The Invicta FC alum has come up short in her two previous bouts for the promotion, losing against Macy Chiasson and Stephanie Egger.

Mazany is fighting to come back from a finish loss that she took against Priscila Cachoeira last year.

Bout 3: Mike Breeden (10-4) vs. Natan Levy (6-1) (Lightweight)

Both hunting for their first UFC victory, Mike Breeden and Natan Levy will meet in the next prelim.

Levy joined the UFC roster in 2020 through a win on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” A year later, he lost his promotional debut against former Combate Americas champion Rafa Garcia, who beat him on scorecards. That outcome marked the first time that Levy suffered a loss as a pro.

Breeden lost his UFC debut last year, coming in on short notice to face Alexander Hernandez. He had a quick outing in that fight, getting stopped in the second minute with punches.

Bout 4: Yohan Lainesse (8-0) vs. Gabe Green (10-3) (Welterweight)

Undefeated Yohan Lainesse will make his UFC debut on Saturday night against Gabe Green.

Lainesse, a former CFFC Welterweight Champion, has scored eight wins as a pro. He earned a UFC contract last year with a win on “Dana White’s Contender Series,” stopping Justin Burlinson in the second round of a bout with strikes.

Green has earned a win and a loss since joining the UFC. His last fight was a decision win over Philip Rowe from last year.

Bout 5: Daniel da Silva (11-2) vs. Francisco Figueiredo (12-4-1) (Flyweight)

Flyweights Daniel da Silva and Francisco Figueiredo have been paired up for Saturday’s prelims.

Da Silva lost his UFC debut in October 2021, getting stopped in the second round of a fight with strikes. Before then he had a strong record of 10 wins and one loss on the regional scene.

Figueiredo won his UFC debut early last year against Jerome Rivera. He is now coming off a loss he took against Malcolm Gordon later that year.

Bout 6: Alexandr Romanov (15-0) vs. Chase Sherman (15-9) (Heavyweight)

Undefeated heavyweight Alexandr Romanov will return Saturday against Chase Sherman. This fight was first scheduled for a UFC card earlier this month, but was re-scheduled to this date.

In the original booking of this fight, Sherman was stepping in on short notice to replace Tanner Boser. This booking brought him back onto the UFC roster after he was reportedly cut from the promotion earlier this year.

Sherman is currently on a three-fight losing streak. His last fight was in January, when Jake Collier stopped him in the first round with a rear naked choke.

Romanov has yet to lose since joining the UFC in 2020. He earned his fourth victory in the promotion in October 2021, finishing Jared Vanderaa in the second round with strikes.

Main Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 7: Gerald Meerschaert (34-14) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (23-5) (Middleweight)

Gerald Meerschaert will look to keep his momentum going when he faces Krzysztof Jotko on Saturday’s main card.

Meerschaert is coming off a highly successful 2021. After taking one win and two losses in 2020, Meerschaert returned to score three consecutive submission victories in 2021. This included a win on the promotion’s last card of the year, submitting Dustin Stoltzfus late with a rear naked choke.

Jotko took a win in his last fight, earning a split decision victory against Misha Cirkunov. Earlier that year, he was beat by rising middleweight Sean Strickland.

Bout 8: Darren Elkins (26-10) vs. Tristan Connelly (14-7) (Featherweight)

Tristan Connelly is expected to return against veteran Darren Elkins on Saturday night.

As documented in a recent interview with Global News British Columbia, Connelly was out for a period of time last year due to a neck surgery. His last appearance was at UFC 261, when Pat Sabatini earned a decision win over him. He will be looking for his second UFC win on Saturday night.

Elkins, a UFC vet of over a decade, is fighting to come back from a finish loss he suffered against Cub Swanson late last year. Before then, he had two consecutive wins.

Bout 9: Jared Gordon (18-4) vs. Grant Dawson (17-1-1) (Lightweight)

Grant Dawson will look to keep his undefeated UFC run going on Saturday when facing Jared Gordon.

Dawson has yet to lose through six UFC fights. He earned five wins from 2019 to 2021 with three of those fights coming via stoppage. His last bout actually concluded in a draw when he faced Ricky Glenn in October 2021. So despite being undefeated in the promotion, Dawson will be fighting to get back into the win column this weekend.

Gordon has strung together a trio of victories in recent years. He scored two wins last year, going to decision against Danny Chavez and Joe Solecki.

Bout 10: Andre Fili (21-8) vs. Joanderson Brito (12-3-1) (Featherweight)

On the hunt for his first UFC win, Joanderson Brito will battle Andre Fili on Saturday night.

Brito had an unsuccessful UFC debut in January, losing a unanimous decision to Bill Algeo. This put an end to a long winning streak that he had built up on the regional scene from 2017 to 2021,

Fili is fighting for his first win since 2020. He has had unfortunate appearances as of late: his most recent fight against Daniel Pineda came to an end with a no contest result due to an accidental eye poke. Before then, he lost to undefeated featherweight Bryce Mitchell on scorecards.

Bout 11: Jake Collier (13-6) vs. Andrei Arlovski (33-20) (Heavyweight)

Heavyweight veteran Andrei Arlovski will return in Saturday’s co-main event to face Jake Collier.

Arlovski took this fight on relative short notice, coming in to replace Justin Tafa. He has seen nothing short of success over the past year, earning three consecutive wins in the UFC cage. His last fight was a decision victory over Jared Vanderaa in February.

Collier has flipped between winning and losing in his last five fights. He returned to his winning ways early this year, scoring a quick submission victory against Chase Sherman.

Bout 12: Rob Font (19-5) vs. Marlon Vera (20-7-1) (Bantamweight)

Ranked bantamweights Rob Font and Marlon Vera will end the night with a five-round main event bout.

Vera currently sits eighth in the UFC bantamweight division, while Font is up at fifth. This means that a win on Saturday would give Vera the chance to move numerous spots up the ranks.

Vera had a successful 2021, scoring two wins. He started the year by going three rounds against Davey Grant for a decision victory. Later that year he beat veteran Frankie Edgar, closing out a dominant performance with a third-round front kick stoppage.

Font is fighting to rebound from a recent loss. He had a four-fight winning streak stopped in his last appearance, as former titleholder Jose Aldo beat him via unanimous decision after five rounds of action.

Font notably missed weight for the bout on Saturday, coming in two-and-a-half pounds over the non-championship bantamweight limit. He is expected to compete on Saturday night despite this weight miss.

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