Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera made a spectacular return to ONE Championship on Friday, 23 November.
After a nearly two-year absence from competition, the Filipino came back to defend his coveted title in the main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS.
In front of a home crowd at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, he faced Italy’s Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli and closed the show with a stunning one-punch, first-round knockout to retain the gold.
Brandon Vera comes back with a BANG, knocking out Mauro Cerilli at 1:04 of Round 1 to retain the ONE Heavyweight World Title! TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, November 23, 2018
Cerilli arrived in The Home Of Martial Arts with a reputation as a fearsome finisher, but it was Vera’s punching power that prevailed as the local hero stopped the debuting Cage Warriors Heavyweight Champion with a perfectly-timed left hand.
“The Truth” took control of the action from the opening bell.
He quickly established his range, using his superior reach and kicks to keep his challenger on the outside. That forced the Italian to rush in as he tried to land a heavy punch.
It proved to be a successful tactic, as Vera took full advantage of the 35-year-old’s charge to finish the contest. He caught Cerilli with a perfectly-timed left hook, right as the challenger was reaching to connect with a left hand of his own.
When Vera’s shot connected, it stopped the Italian in his tracks and sent him straight down to the canvas. Referee Olivier Coste rushed in to stop the contest after just 64 seconds.
The fans inside the Mall Of Asia Arena immediately leaped to their feet in celebration.
“I’ve been gone for two years, but it looks like I can still do it,” the 41-year-old told Mitch Chilson after his victory.
“I’ve been watching Mauro’s tapes every night. Even as I sleep, I watched him train, I watched him fight, I watched everything he does.
“I know he swings hard. He did punch me in the mouth, and it hurt! And then when he fell down, I was pretty surprised. I’m glad I got that left hook in and dropped him with it.”
Moments later, he addressed the fans in attendance that had just seen Eduard Folayang recapture the ONE Lightweight World Title, then his own title defense.
“In the world of martial arts, the Philippines owns five World Titles,” he declared to cheers from the partisan crowd.
It was a memorable end to an incredible night for Filipino mixed martial arts.
Now, the country has five ONE World Champions – Joshua Pacio at strawweight, Geje Eustaquio at flyweight, Kevin Belingon at bantamweight, Eduard Folayang at lightweight, and, of course, Vera at heavyweight.