Bhullar all set vs Vera

Published May 6, 2021, 3:36 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Arjan Bhullar (ONE Championship)

Indian wrestling star and heavyweight contender Arjan Bhullar said he’s been prepared to face ONE Championship titleholder Brandon Vera for a long time.

Now that the heavyweight title bout is about to materialize, Bhullar is confident with the growth and experience he gained over more than a year since beating Mauro Cerili in his debut last October 2019.

And just like Vera, Bhullar considers the Filipino-American fighter as a “dangerous” opponent and his “toughest test” yet.

“I think I’ve been ready for Vera for a long time. I’ve been training and learning at a high level for a long time and I’m excited to show that. What he likes to do when he is up against the cage, on the ground – look at his habits,” said Bhullar, who holds a 10-1 mixed martial arts record, ahead of their ONE: Dangal world title bout on May 15.

“That’s the one thing, a lot of his habits and tendencies are the same for all of these years, so we were able to study a lot of that and prepare accordingly.”

While Bhullar is confident with his boxing, the 34-year-old Indian fighter is wary of Vera’s kickboxing prowess especially after training with coach Henri Hooft at Sanford MMA, the home of fellow ONE Championship stars Aung La N Sang and Martin Nguyen.

brandon vera
Filipino-American Brandon Vera, ONE Heavyweight World Champion (ONE Championship)

“I think my boxing is way better than his and that’s a huge hole that I’m looking to exploit. It falls right in line with my grappling range. So, he’s going to want a slower pace, at range moving type of fight and we are going to want to be up in his face, pressing him all night and punching him and taking him down,” said Bhullar, a former UFC fighter.

Bhullar and Vera were supposed to clash initially in May last year at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City before the COVID-19 pandemic halted all sporting activities worldwide.

Meanwhile, Vera, 43, who owns a 16-8 record, last saw action in the Circle in October 2019 as well and fell to former two-division world champion Aung La.