One of New England's brightest stars will have the opportunity to shine under the bright lights of the UFC tomorrow night, and Woburn, Massachusetts' Rob Font (17-4) is ready to take on the toughest task of his storied MMA career. Font, the 11th ranked bantamweight in the world, will be taking on 3rd ranked Marlon Moraes at UFC Vegas 17 at the UFC Apex out west.
Don't let the number "3" next to Moraes name dictate how this fight should play out in your head. The fight currently stands close to a pick 'em from a betting perspective, and betting lines are probably the most accurate thing we have to try and predict how a fight may turn out. As of Friday morning Moraes was a slight -150 favorite, and Font was at +130 on the comeback. In MMA and betting terms, this fight is a "coin flip".
With over 3 hours of professional fight time in the cage, Font isn't a stranger to competing under the bright lights. After honing his skills on the New England regional scene, mostly under the CES banner, Font got the call from the UFC in mid 2014, and has gone on to amass a 7-3 record with the world's preeminent MMA promotion, and gets the biggest opportunity of his career when he takes on the uber-experienced Moraes tomorrow night.
The former CES featherweight champion has recently honed his skills alongside 6th ranked featherweight in the world, Calvin Kattar, and has ridden the wave that we call the New England Cartel with coach Tyson Chartier alongside. At one point Font and Kattar were destined to meet in the cage as they were highly regarded as the #1 and #2 featherweights in the region. Chartier, who manages both fighters, put the kibosh on that, and focused on getting both New Englanders to the big stage instead of beating each other up on the regional scene. That game plan turned out to be exactly what both guys needed at the time, and has bread a friendship that goes much deeper than throwing down in the cage.
When he enters the cage Saturday night, Font will not have competed in just over a year, as a knee injury that he sustained in his battle with Ricky Simon at UFC on ESPN 7 put him on the shelf, and forced him to focus on rehab and not fighting for some time. Don't let Font's absence from the cage concern you, as he's had plenty of time to rehab, and has been training with some killers in the region for this huge opportunity. If Font can go out and finish Moraes, who's an incredibly durable fighter, then not only will it extend his UFC win streak to 3, but it also positions him very nicely to move up the UFC's bantamweight rankings and to start calling out the guys in the top 5.