ONE: Brandon Vera braces for tough challenge vs ‘real deal’ Bhullar
MANILA, Philippines — Brandon Vera has never been challenged in the ONE heavyweight division.
In his first four fights so far, Vera hardly broke a sweat after finishing his opponents inside the opening round.
Vera, though, believes the trend of cakewalks could end soon when he defends the heavyweight world title against Canadian-Indian Arjan Bhullar.
“I’m very excited to be fighting Arjan Bhullar and to defend our ONE heavyweight world title. I think he is probably the best candidate to come face me,” Vera said in a story on the ONE Championship website.
“This guy is the real deal. I respect this guy tremendously. His wrestling is ridiculous. He comes from a school just like where I came from – huge pedigree.”
The 33-year-old Bhullar does have quite a wrestling resumé with a gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a national team stint for Canada in the 2012 London Olympics.
Bhullar, who made a transition to mixed martial arts in 2014, has an MMA record of 10-1, including a unanimous decision win over Vera’s former challenger Mauro Cerilli in his ONE debut last October.
Bhullar may be known for his wrestling, but his boxing and conditioning are also some of the things Vera is also wary of.
“This guy has amazing boxing that nobody’s talking about,” the Filipino-American Vera said. “This guy’s boxing is ridiculous. His head movement is crisp. He’s fast, and he likes to stay in the pocket.”
“Arjan has more gas than most heavyweights, and that’s something really different about him,” he said “He knows how to pace himself. Most heavyweights don’t know how to pace themselves. I’m going to have to push and test and poke in different places that he is not used to.”
The 42-year-old Vera, who went down to light heavyweight in his last fight and took a TKO loss to Burmese champion Aung La N Sang last October, thinks his bout against Bhullar also won’t go the distance.
“We’re [going to be] in a championship fight. It needs to be decided between us, not the three people watching.”
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