Brandon Vera was in absolute shock after losing his ONE heavyweight world title to Indian foe Arjan Bhullar in ONE: Dangal at the Singapore Indoor Stadium Saturday, May 15.
In a post-match interview with ONE commentator Mitch Chilson, a puzzled Vera couldn’t find the right words to explain what transpired during the fight as Bhullar dominated him and scored a second-round technical knockout win.
“You know, I wish I had an answer, man. I’m sorry Sanford MMA, I’m sorry for my family that I didn’t perform the way I could and should have,” said the 43-year-old Vera. “I don’t know. This is the first time in my career that I actually felt gassed [out] in the first round. It’s weird.
“I’m in shape. We’ve been training our a** off. We’ve been working with the best people in the world. I don’t know. I don’t know, this is new for me,” added the former ONE heavyweight champion, who fell to a 16-9 record.
The Filipino-American fighter matched Bhullar’s wrestling in the latter parts of the first round but failed to land critical leg kicks compared to the accurate punching of the Indian champion.
And it looks like the first round exhaustion took a toll on Vera in the following frame as the 34-year-old Bhullar took down the Fil-Am twice.
A mix of solid right hook and an uppercut also wobbled Vera in the second round, which ultimately left the former champion fatigued — catching his breath and sighing heavily in the remainder of the match.
With Vera in turtle position, Bhullar, who improved to an 11-1 record, unloaded left and right punches down the canvas which prompted referee Justin Brown to end the bout at the 4:27 mark of the second round.
Prior to the title bout, Vera had trained with ONE Championship stars Aung La N Sang and Martin Nguyen at Florida-based stable Sanford MMA under the tutelage of coach Henri Hooft.
Vera was expected to bank on his kickboxing but Bhullar’s boxing and wrestling proved to be too much for the five-year heavyweight champion.