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An all-time great stands between Marlon Vera and uncharted territory in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s bantamweight division, as the Team Oyama rep will take on Jose Aldo in the UFC Fight Night 183 co-main event this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Opportunity has never knocked louder for “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” semifinalist.
Aldo enters the cage on the first three-fight losing streak of his stellar career. The Nova Uniao-trained Brazilian last competed at UFC 251 on July 11, when he succumbed to fifth-round punches from Petr Yan in a failed bid to capture the vacant bantamweight championship. Vera, meanwhile, has rattled off six wins in seven appearances. He last appeared at UFC 252, where he took care of Sean O’Malley with elbows and punches in the first round of their Aug. 15 encounter.
As Aldo and Vera make final preparations for their all-important showdown, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
34: Years of age for Aldo, who was born on Sept. 9, 1986 in Manaus, Brazil, aka “The Paris of the Tropics.”
17: Aldo victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 61% of his career total (28). His list of victims includes Chad Mendes, Chan Sung Jung, Jeremy Stephens and Renato Carneiro. Aldo has but one finish by submission, having disposed of Luiz de Paula with an arm-triangle choke in his third professional appearance in 2005.
9: Post-fight bonuses banked by Aldo in the UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting. He has been awarded “Fight of the Night” on four occasions, “Knockout of the Night” three times and “Performance of the Night” twice, resulting in $406,500 in additional income.
3: Sub-minute finishes to Aldo’s credit. He knocked out Mario Bigola with a head kick in 18 seconds at Eco Fight Championship 1 on Aug. 10, 2004, wiped out Aritano Silva Barbosa with soccer kicks in 20 seconds at Rio MMA Challenge 1 on May 12, 2005 and brought down Cub Swanson with a flying knee in eight seconds at WEC 41 on June 7, 2009.
2,037: Days spent by Aldo as a UFC champion. He enjoyed two title reigns at 145 pounds. Only Anderson Silva (2,457), Georges St. Pierre (2,204), Demetrious Johnson (2,142) and Jon Jones (2,098) have spent more time with UFC gold strapped to their waist.
28: Years of age for Vera, who was born on Dec. 2, 1992 in Chone, Ecuador.
8: Vera wins by submission, providing him with 50% of his professional total. His methods of choice: three rear-naked chokes, two triangle chokes, one heel hook, one triangle armbar and one armbar.
9: Countries in which Vera has competed in 23 appearances as a mixed martial artist. He has gone 7-1 in the United States, 2-1-1 in Peru, 2-0 in Ecuador, 1-1 in Mexico, 1-1 in England, 0-2 in Brazil, 1-0 in Panama, 1-0 in Australia and 1-0 in Argentina.
.720: Cumulative winning percentage between the six men—Yadong Song, Douglas Silva de Andrade, John Lineker, Davey Grant, Marco Beltran and Bruno Leandro Soares Lobato—who have beaten Vera. Together, they own a combined record of 136-50-3.
11: Submission attempts for Vera as a UFC bantamweight, tying him with Aljamain Sterling for fourth-most on the promotion’s active list at 135 pounds. Only Rani Yahya (12), Alex Caceres (12) and T.J. Dillashaw have tried more.