MANILA, Philippines -- Having waited a long time for his opportunity to fight Brandon Vera, Indian wrestling champion Arjan "Singh" Bhullar has compiled a thorough scouting report on the ONE heavyweight champion.
Bhullar, a former UFC veteran, has had months of training and preparation as well as plenty of time to study his Filipino-American foe. Ahead of their showdown at ONE: Dangal, the 34-year-old believes he has come up with the right strategy that will prove he is the better fighter.
Bhullar is scheduled to challenge Vera for the heavyweight belt in the headline bout at ONE: DANGAL, a tape delayed event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore that airs on Saturday, May 15.
"Brandon Vera is dangerous if you let him keep you at range. His kicks are very accurate and powerful. He's got good knees. He'll square me on the ground - that type of stuff. So those are the areas you want to take away," said Bhullar.
"I think Vera's strategy is going to be relying on his kickboxing for sure. He joined another gym which is renowned for their kickboxing. So he is going to look to focus on that, keep his range which is longer, and work his kickboxing. He will also work his clinch, try to stay off the cage, and that's it," he added.
Even if he has studied Vera, Bhullar knows the Fil-Am star won't be an easy opponent. "The Truth" has reigned supreme in the heavyweight division since capturing the inaugural heavyweight belt in 2015. He has been the only man to hold the ONE Heavyweight World Title in the history of ONE Championship.
Vera has finished every man he's faced in the division, showcasing his unreal power and prime striking skill. He has made multiple successful title defenses.
However, Bhullar believes he has Vera's number, and has the
advantage in areas he feels are crucial to taking home the victory.
"For us, our boxing is better. My kickboxing is sharp as well but I just haven't had the chance to show it - how I deal with that and how I meet someone who does that. This would be a good opportunity for that. My clinch work is better than his and I will show that," he guaranteed.
"More than anything, skills aside, I say we are equal all the way around. My insights have separated me from him. I will go further and deeper than he will, and that is where I draw a lot of my confidence from," he added.
If he can defeat Vera, Bhullar will become the first mixed martial arts world champion to represent his home country of India, on the global stage of mixed martial arts competition.
"Being a world champion is the most important to me and the fact that I have the ability to make history and be the first (mixed martial arts world champion) in India is very, very important. One, for myself and my legacy, and two, for the next generation to wake up, and other wrestlers and martial artists from India to understand that this is possible for them," he stressed.
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.
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