Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera, 41, of the Philippines and Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli, 35, of Italy had their first faceoff during the “ONE: Conquest of Champions” open workout at the Victory Sports Tower in Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on November 16, 2018. The Filipino champ’s coach George Castro also graced the event.
Cerilli will challenge Vera in the main event of the “ONE: Conquest of Champions” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila on November 23, 2018. The Filipino-American defending champion recently starred in an action film titled “Buy Bust” and he is fighting again in the ONE Championship cage after almost two years.
Right after the “ONE: Conquest of Champions” open workout, I had a short interview Castro. He declared, “We’re gonna win this fight for sure.”
“You know what, we’ve been training since we moved here even while he was doing his movie stuff so we stayed training,” Castro told me when I asked him about ring rust. “We stayed in the cage. We stayed sparring with people so there’s not gonna be any ring rust.”
Vera has established a great fan base among the fight fans and movie buffs in the Philippines. According to Castro, fighting in front of the Filipino crowd gives the reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion some extra energy.
“Brandon loves to fight here,” Castro said. “I mean, obviously Filipino fans love him.”
Previously, Castro served as the strength and conditioning coach at the Alliance MMA Gym in the United States. In 2016, he moved to the Philippines to bring to the country the mixed martial arts gym founded by Vera in 2007.
“Now, I’ve been living here for two years so this feels like my family now too so everything feels right, you know,” Castro shared. “We don’t have to travel the world to go to the fight, you know. We’re home. We’re fighting at home so we’re happy about that, very happy about that.”
Castro described Vera as a well-rounded fighter. The fight coach said, “I don’t have any concerns or worries about him to fight standing or going to the ground so this is going to be a very, very good fight for Brandon to show what he’s learned in the last couple of years.”
Still, Castro pointed out that they are not underestimating Cerilli. Vera’s coach said, “We don’t take anybody lightly.”
“I know he has a lot of power,” Castro said of Cerilli. “I think we’re a little faster. I think we have better condition and I believe we have more experience.”
Watch my interview with Castro here: