When Amir Aliakbari steps into the Circle this weekend at ONE 164: Pacio vx. Brooks it will be for a fight he has been waiting years for.
Since arriving in ONE in 2020, the Iranian has had his sights set on the former heavyweight champion Brandon Vera.
The 45-year-old veteran Vera has seen and done it, all over the world, and Aliakbari sees a win over him propelling him up the heavyweight division.
The Iranian is a monster of a man, with phenomenal strength and wrestling ability and will look to use these physical attributes against an opponent he says is one-dimensional.
“He has great hands, especially an overhand, and he’s tough,” said Aliakbari. “But he’s a one dimensional fighter who only has one round in him. The strategy is the same. Outpace him, out strike him, out wrestle him, and take him into the deep waters.
“He doesn’t have the wrestling credentials nor experience to compete with me. Although this is an MMA bout, I will mix my wrestling with my striking creatively and control the fight.”
After dropping his first two fights when he arrived in ONE, Aliakbari got his name back in the win column last time out, and feels he is well prepared to build on that momentum.
“The first two losses have a long back story which many are not aware of,” he explained. “I’m not going to get into that now and create excuses, but the first year was filled with many problems that caused many health issues for me. Now, I am back, stronger than ever.
“Thank God we’ve had a great camp and we’ve been able to prepare for this fight properly. We look forward to putting on a great performance. We feel much better than we did before our previous fights as we are feeling healthy and in good spirits.”
Aliakbari is non-committal on what would be next should he win at the weekend, but is keen to avenge a loss to the current interim heavyweight champ, and the man who will fight for light-heavyweight gold at ONE Fight Night 5 this weekend, Anatoly Malykhin.
“I am focused on Vera for now. We will discuss what’s next in the cage after I win,” he said. “All I can say is that me and Malikhyn have unsettled business.”
We will see if he takes the first step to settling that business this weekend.
ONE 164: Pacio vs. Brooks takes place Saturday December 3 2.30pm GST at the Mall Of Asia Arena, 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!