Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera is ready to face the toughest challenge in ONE Championship so far. The 43-year-old mixed martial arts veteran returns to the Circle for the first time since suffering a second-round TKO loss to Aung La N Sang at light heavyweight in October 2019.
This time, Vera faces Indian wrestling champion Arjan “Singh” Bhullar with his ONE Heavyweight World Title on the line. The two men square off in the headline bout at ONE: DANGAL, a tape delayed event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore that airs on Saturday, 15 May.
The Filipino-American veteran appears in supreme condition heading into this matchup, and is looking to turn in a vintage performance.
“As a fighter, I think Arjan is one of the top athletes that ONE Championship has. 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,” Vera said.
“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.”
Bhullar is a Commonwealth Games Wrestling Gold Medalist who has been a martial artist his whole life. Tracing his roots to Billi Bhullar village in the Jalandhar district of the North Indian state of Punjab, Bhullar is based out of Canada and even represented the country at the 2012 London Olympics.
After competing in the UFC, Bhullar joined ONE Championship in October 2019, defeating former ONE World Title challenger Mauro Cerilli.
“Yes, I think there are weaknesses in his game. Am I going to tell you them? No. If you want to see his weaknesses, you just have to watch the event. See what I do,” Vera said, before breaking down what he believes Bhullar’s game plan would be heading into this matchup.
“He’s going to try and take me down, then wear me out on the ground. Ground-and-pound and box with me a little bit. Try to rinse and repeat. Try to do that until he gasses me out across five rounds. I think that’s his game plan. Touch and move, look for his takedown, move and box some more, then ground-and-pound.”
Vera has made it no secret that he plans on striking with his Indian foe and finishing him on the feet. “The Truth” has shifted his training camp from the Philippines to Sanford MMA in Florida, a move that saw him train extensively with renowned coach Henri Hooft for this all-important world title defense.
“I’m back to the Dutch Kickboxing, with Henri Hooft. That is something amazing. You can see that when I first started my career, when I was training with a Dutch Kickboxer,” Vera said.
“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.”
ONE: DANGAL features a host of Indian martial arts stars, and aims to showcase the very best that India has to offer. Other Indian athletes scheduled for action include atomweight phenom Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat, Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat, and Roshan Mainam.