Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar continued his bantamweight run at UFC 268 on Saturday, competing for the first time since a vicious knockout loss at the hands of Cory Sandhagen earlier this year.
Opposite Edgar at the New York City-based event was Marlon Vera, who had been trading wins and losses across his last few fights.
“Chito” Vera’s stock had taken a big bump after he stopped Sean O’Malley; a win over Edgar could very well propel him to the next level.
Despite Frankie Edgar once ruling the roost at 155lbs, it was Vera who was the noticeably bigger man on Saturday. Edgar dropped for a takedown early, which Vera shot off. From there, they’d exchange a number of times. Edgar fired a kick, then moments later, he scored his first takedown. Vera defended with a guillotine, but Edgar went straight to half guard, and the choke was never a real threat.
From there, Edgar stacked Vera up, and dropped a slicing elbow, then shots to the body. Vera was stuck in no man’s land, miles from the fence. He thrashed, threw elbows from the bottom, and kept his guard closed. But Edgar was in the driver’s seat, landing plenty of ground n’ pound. Edgar, however, had to be very careful avoiding the upkicks of Vera after being forced up, and ate a couple before getting back into position.
It was just over a minute into the second when Edgar planted Vera on his back once more. Vera again pushed Edgar off, creating some distance, and fired upkicks. Again, Edgar ate one or two, but got back into the driver’s seat. This time, however, Vera would scramble out, and walk Edgar down. Edgar would find some success of his own in the stand-up, constantly moving in his patented herky-jerky style. Vera’s biggest moment was a knee that hit Edgar in the shoulder, knocking him down but not really doing any lasting damage as far as the fight was concerned.
Frankie Edgar had his hands going early in the third. Chito Vera found the target with a side kick. More importantly, Vera stuffed Edgar’s first takedown of the round. Vera landed a front kick, and put Edgar on his heels. Edgar would land a takedown briefly near the two minute mark, but Vera was straight up, fighting the hands and breaking free. And just when it looked like it was going to the judges, Vera ended the fight.
What a finale to the CHITO SHOW!!!! 🎬
— UFC (@ufc) November 7, 2021
Having fired a front kick several times through the fight, Vera connected with one clean. Shades of Machida, or Silva. Edgar went down, and one hammer fist later as he was still in motion, it was over. While Edgar immediately protested the stoppage, it was a valid one.
Official Result: Marlon Vera def. Frankie Edgar by knockout (front kick), Round 3, 3:50