ONE 164: Pacio vs. Brooks hits our screens live from Manila this weekend. On the map is a much-anticipated heavyweight duel between Iran’s Amir Aliakbari and Brandon Vera – here are five reasons why you should keep an eye on that clash
A real contender at ONE, Aliakbari has the tools to be a huge heavyweight force. This former Greco-Roman world wrestling champion is 11-3 in mixed martial arts with arguably the biggest fight of his life coming up this weekend – now it’s time to stay back and support this Middle Eastern monster.
A year-long struggle
Since signing for ONE in 2019, Aliakbari has wanted to go head-to-head with former world champion Vera. The Filipino-American has been in the game for more than two decades, fighting in organizations around the world and taking on some of the best fighters of all time. Even at 45, it would be a huge win for the Iranian.
A tour de force
At 6’1″ and nearly 250 pounds, Aliakbari is a mountain of a man – and seeing him in action is something else entirely. His wrestling background gives him the ability to toss people around like rag dolls with a strength that’s hard to believe. Couple this with the ability to end fights quickly and you have a very entertaining fighter.
A chance for Amir to shine
The heavyweight division is currently in turmoil, with Anatoliy Malykhin holding the interim title while champion Arjan Bhullar has been sidelined since April 2021, leaving the title scene and top of the division a bit tarnished. Aliakbari would be keen to exact revenge on Malykhin after a defeat last September and a win on Saturday could be just the thing to get his name among the big guns.
Last chance to see a champion?
While this is a big night for Aliakbari, it’s also crucial for Vera’s career. At 45, he might think a win here would give him another title win, while a defeat at the end of the night could see him keep his gloves in the cage. It’s unclear what happens on Saturday, but you don’t want to miss another big night in the life of the former ONE champion.
ONE 164: Pacio vs. Brooks will be held on Saturday, December 3rd at 2:30pm GST at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila. This is an event not to be missed, so mark your calendars, download the ONE Super App and go to watch.onefc.com now!