MMA: Brandon Vera gets stopped, bids goodbye to MMA

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2022 11:11 PM | Updated as of Dec 03 2022 11:22 PM

George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Brandon Vera during his heavyweight MMA match against Amir Aliakbari for ONE 164 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on December 3, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Former heavyweight champion Brandon Vera lost in his comeback fight against Iranian giant Amir Aliakbari in the main card of ONE 164: Pacio vs Brooks at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday.

The 45-year-old Vera, who was looking to bounce back from his title defeat to Arjan Bhullar in April 2021, went to the ground when the Iranian shot for a takedown.

The Fil-American could do little to defend himself on the mat as Aliakbari rained him with heavy hammer fists.

The referee stopped the fight 3:37 seconds into the first round.

Vera was landing a few shots against Aliakbari early in the fight. But he used less of his leg kicks which could leave him open to Aliakbari's takedown. 

After his loss, Vera announced his retirement from competitive MMA. 

"Kababayan, ang tagal ko nang ginagawa ito (fighting). You just witnessed my final fight," said an emotional Vera, who has been transitioning to acting lately.

The Fil-American veteran left his MMA gloves at the center of the cage, signifying the end of his 2-decade career.

George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Jeremy Pacatiw during his Bantamweight MMA match against Tial Thang for ONE 164 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on December 3, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Meanwhile, Jeremy Pacatiw submitted Myanmar's Tial Thang in an exciting barnburner of a bantamweight match.

After engaging Tial in a highly entertaining but vicious slugfest, the Team Lakay fighter found an opening in the second round while their fight went to the ground.

Pacatiw caught Tial in a triangle choke and never let go until the Myanmarese tapped out 1:27 seconds into the second round.

His fellow Team Lakay fighter Geje Eustaquio was not as fortunate as the former flyweight king succumbed to a heavy right hand from China's Hu Yong.

Hu attacked Eustaquio with relentless pace, leaving the Filipino catching his breath.

They were able to engage in a competitive grappling match and this tired Eustaquio out.

The end came near the end of the first round when Hu tagged Eustaquio with a heavy right that dropped the former champion.