Vera takes on hulking Amir Aliakbari in a heavyweight MMA bout on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Mall of Asia Arena, and it’s a fight that has played out in his mind for the longest time.
With Aliakbari boldly proclaiming that he’ll finish Vera, the former ONE heavyweight world champion said that the Iranian must go above and beyond to achieve that.
“I’d rather die in the Circle than to lose in the Philippines,” he said.
The two have been exchanging words since Aliakbari signed with ONE Championship, with the former saying that he’d “brutally smash” Vera.
The fight never materialized after both Vera and Aliakbari went through some rough patches in their respective careers.
Fate has brought them together in Manila, however.
Aliakbari handily won his previous match, making him ready for another fight before the year ends, while Vera has been looking for an opponent for his long-awaited comeback fight.
Vera’s grateful that not only will his next fight happen in his home country, it will also be against the guy who’s been talking smack for a long time.
“I’m really excited to fight again, but I guess the icing on the cake is that I’ll be fighting in Manila, and it will be against Amir,” he said.
“This is such an important fight for me. I brought my old team back together. I flew over some sparring partners to Guam with me. So all I can say is, I’m ready.”
With the fight only a few days away, Vera had one parting shot at his trash-talking opponent.
“Hey, Amir Aliakbari. You better prepare your a–.”
Tickets for ONE Fight Night 5 and ONE 164: Pacio vs. Brooks at the Mall of Asia Arena on 3 December are available at https://linktr.ee/ONEPH.