When a mixed martial artist fights in his or her hometown, he or she commonly gets to have his or her morale boosted by the cheering countrymen. Sometimes, each time the local hero is hit in the cage by the opponent from a foreign land, the crowd boos in unison.
Curious about the value of home-court advantage in MMA, I asked reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera, 40, about it. The Filipino-American fighter was one of the special guests during the press conference for “ONE: Global Superheroes” on January 22, 2018 at the City of Dreams Manila in Paranaque City, Metro Manila.
“You know, I really think home-court advantage in the Philippines can play a huge part,” Vera told me. “Mexico, it can play a huge part. Brazil, it can play a huge part. And the rest of the world, I don’t think (it does). But in those three countries, I think (it really does). And the Philippines is one of those countries. It gives you a home-court advantage.”
Since Vera joined ONE Championship, he has fought three bouts, all of which took place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila. He made his promotional debut on December 4, 2014 at “ONE: Warrior’s Way” where he knocked out Igor Subora, 37, of Ukraine via punch and soccer kicks at 3:54 of Round 1.
Vera fought in the ONE Championship cage for the second time on December 11, 2015. He knocked out Paul “Typhoon” Cheng, 39, of Taiwan via punch and head kick at 0:26 of Round 1 at “ONE: Spirit of Champions.”
The most recent bout of Vera took place on December 2, 2016. He knocked out Hideki “Shrek” Sekine, 44, of Japan via punches at 3:11 of Round 1 at “ONE: Age of Domination.”
In 2017, Vera went on hiatus while filming the Filipino action movie “Buy Bust” with Anne Curtis. In 2018, the reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion is expected to go back to the cage and have at least one bout before 2019.
Watch my interview with Vera here: