Who is next for Marlon Vera after dominant victory over Rob Font?

After Marlon Vera's unanimous decision victory over Rob Font at UFC Fight Night on Saturday, Planet Sport looks at who could be next for the Ecuadorian.

Marlon "Chito" Vera extended his winning streak to three fights at UFC Vegas 53 with a dominant decision victory over Rob Font, improving his record to 21-7-1 and likely jumping into the top five in the UFC's bantamweight rankings.

Vera knocked Font down three times over the five rounds, landing 159 strikes in the process, earning himself a Fight of the Night performance bonus, on top of the purse he received from Font, following his opponent missing weight.

Planet Sport takes a look at five potential opponents for the Ecuadorian fighter.

Jose Aldo

Jose Aldo

In all honesty, this is the fight that makes the most sense for the UFC to book.

Currently in the top five in 135lbs rankings, only two men can really lay claim to be the next in line for the title shot; former featherweight champion Jose Aldo, and two-time bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, with both Cory Sandhagen and Petr Yan having losses to the current champion Aljamain Sterling.

Font will now be pushed out of the top five, with Vera jumping in.

Aldo is currently on a three fight winning streak of his own, which includes a win over Vera back in December. This hasn't stopped Vera calling out for the rematch though.

In his post-fight press conference, he demanded a five round bout rematch with Aldo.

With the UFC now looking to go back on the road more, Aldo vs Vera II would be the perfect main event for a Fight Night card in Brazil; putting a home crowd favourite in Aldo in the main event, while the fight serves perfectly as a title eliminator.

TJ Dillashaw

This is the next most logical fight for the UFC to book Vera in.

Dillashaw is a two-time bantamweight champion, and is ranked second in the division, with the number one ranked fighter, Petr Yan, now unlikely to have a third shot at the belt after two consecutive defeats to Sterling.

"Killashaw" has only fought once since returning to the Octagon following a ban for testing positive for EPO, with that being a tight decision victory over Cory Sandhagen.

Vera would prove a fantastic test for Dillashaw, with the Ecuadorian having great stand up skills and a good wrestling defence behind him.

This again would be a great Fight Night main event, and over five rounds, would likely produce a fantastic fight.

Cory Sandhagen

While a fight with Sandhagen wouldn't likely be a title eliminator, it would be a great fight for Vera to raise his profile in.

Sandhagen has cemented a spot as a fan favourite in the bantamweight rankings. He put on an epic fight with TJ Dillashaw, earned a KO of the Year nomination for his flying knee stoppage over Frankie Edgar and his spinning heel kick knockout against Marlon Moraes will forever be played in his highlight reel.

Despite this, Sandhagen has only won two of his last five bouts, and needs a win over another contender if he hopes to get back into title contention and a rematch with Aljamain Sterling, making Vera, who is currently riding a three fight winning streak, the perfect opponent.

Sean O'Malley

When looking at the rankings, this isn't the most logical fight for Vera, but if you look at it from the narrative side, it is possibly one of the best stories the UFC can sell fans on right now.

Vera is the only man in the UFC to have beaten O'Malley, who is one of the promotion's most bankable young stars. The marketing is simple, promote this as O'Malley wanting redemption over Vera after the 21-7-1 fighter knocked him out in 2020.

If Vera wins, he secures himself a reputation as a formidable finisher.

If O'Malley wins, he earns a win back over the only man to have beaten him in the cage and gets a significant jump in the rankings to boot, with the UFC also being able to add more stock to "The Sugar Show".

Merab Dvalishvili

Merab Dvalishvili

It's easy for fighters to forget that sometimes, they will have to defend their spot in the rankings, and that is exactly what Vera will have to do in a fight with Dvalishvili.

After his win over Font, Vera will leapfrog Dvalishvilli in the rankings, meaning the Georgian will need a win over either Vera or another top five ranked bantamweight to get into title contention.

Fight wise, this is possibly the most difficult for Vera if it is made.

While Vera does possess good defensive wrestling, with a takedown defence rate of 68%, Dvalishvili is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC, with an average of 7.3 takedowns per fight, with 36 total takedowns in his last five outings.

On top of this, Dvalishvili has earnt an opportunity to climb the rankings with a seven fight win streak, stretching back to 2018.

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