A fan-friendly, fireworks infused fight if there ever was one saw Marlon Vera paired up with Davey Grant at UFC Vegas 29.
The bantamweight pairing found both fighters looking to follow-up recent successes. Grant, in particular, was finally firing on all cylinders, having put together back-to-back Performance of the Night bonus-winning victories. And while Vera was coming off a loss, it was a decision to former featherweight champ Jose Aldo — just one fight removed from his win over Sean O’Malley.
In the opening round, Chito Vera looked calm, working his jab to keep Grant at range. Grant was game, throwing hooks to get around Vera’s guard, attacking from angles, and going body-head in his combinations. With two minutes remaining, Vera planted Grant on his back, marking the first trip to the ground of the fight. They wouldn’t stay there long, and finished the round on the feet, with a Davey Grant spinning kick and a couple of brief exchanges.
More than anything, Vera had found success with his leg kick in the opening frame. Grant’s lead leg was showing some wear and tear by the time the second round got underway as a result. In the second, then went right back at it, but it was a Vera elbow on Grant near the three-minute mark that really stole the show. That elbow split Grant open like a ripe melon. He’d fire back, and later try a spinning attack. They’d wind up in a clinch by the fence, then go to the floor, with Grant getting on top. Vera, who should have been taking over thanks to that nasty elbow, was instead fighting off Grant. The British fighter would eat up a fair amount of time on top, until Vera used his submission game to create an opening to scramble on top. There wasn’t enough time left in the round to make anything happen, however.
Grant shot for a takedown early in the third, but Vera sprawled to stuff the attempt. He transitioned to the back, got hooks in, and flattened out his opponent. He didn’t quite have the submission, but Grant had nowhere to go. Instead, Vera wound up transitioning to mount. Somehow, Grant survived, grabbed a leg, and made it back up. On the feet, Grant connected with two or three solid punches, while Vera fired elbows and knees down the middle. After taking a few of those, Grant looked hurt, and covered up as Vera worked him over. They’d go back to the ground with half the round still remaining, Grant’s face a bloody mess.
From side control, Vera began dropping elbows, looking to end the fight. Grant, looking like a horror movie prop, managed to survive. Vera wound up back in guard, still scoring damage whenever possible. Grant then looked for a kimura, perhaps to sweep. He’d manage to get to his knees, but Vera put him back on the canvas — or Grant was simply too exhausted. Then, Vera too the back and locked in a nasty-looking rear-naked choke. Just when it looked like the finish was secure, Grant managed to create enough space to stay conscious — and they’d head to the judges.
— UFC (@ufc) June 20, 2021
In a bout with Fight of the Night written all over it, there were no losers (except on the scorecards, of course, but hey, someone was bound to get the nod). Vera took the win in the end, a well-deserved victory even if scores were all over the map.
Official Result: Marlon Vera def. Davey Grant by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-26)