ONE heavyweight champion Brandon Vera will be taking on a different approach in the Circle against former Olympic wrestler and UFC fighter Arjan Bhullar in ONE: Dangal on May 15.
Since this will be his first fight since October 2019, Vera isn’t about to underestimate Bhullar but expressed confidence to expose his opponent’s weaknesses.
For the reigning heavyweight king though, Bhullar is one of the top athletes in the promotion.
“He’s got a great wrestling background. His boxing is amazing. He’s got a dangerous overhand right. We’ve been training for him. We’ve been watching film. We all watch film together like once or twice, take notes and drill, drill, drill, go over counters, go over offense,” said the 43-year-old Vera, who holds a 16-8 record.
“We just train for Arjan. He’s got great head movement. He doesn’t mind staying in the pocket. If you get close to him, he’ll grab your leg and take you down. He’ll ground-and-pound you. He’s got a lot of gas in the tank. He’s definitely a dangerous opponent.”
Thanks to Florida-based stable Sanford MMA, the home of ONE Championship stars Aung La N Sang and Martin Nguyen, Vera was able to stay in shape and improve his striking skills under the tutelage of coach Henri Hooft.
And it seems that the Filipino-American champion has also acquired an important skill he could bring into the Circle.
“The most prominent thing that I have gained out of this training camp, and it’s going to be really weird, I see everything right now. I can see everything when I’m in front of somebody. That hasn’t happened in a while, so I’m excited what I can see with Arjan,” added Vera, who last saw action against former two-division champion Aung La.
Bhullar, 34, for his part, marked a successful ONE Championship debut after dominating Mauro Cerili in October 2019.
Vera and Bhullar were initially scheduled to lock horns in May last year at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City but the COVID-19 pandemic put the sporting world at a standstill, including all pending ONE Championship cards at that time.