Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera began training mixed martial arts at the age of 16, in Guayaquil. He dreamed of coming to the UFC with a single objective: to pay for the treatment of his daughter, who suffers from Moebius syndrome (a disease that causes non-progressive facial paralysis).
‘Chito’ Vera is an example of effort, improvement and tenacity. He comes from a humble and hard-working family.
He was born on December 2, 1992 in Chone, Manabí province and as a young man he moved to Guayaquil with his parents and siblings. There he started his link with the sport.
His first contact with mixed martial arts was thanks to his trainer, Frank Vidal, at the 50/50 academy. He also learned jiu-jitsu, muay thai and boxing techniques.
In 2010 he was part of a professional fight in Quito (he won) and a year later, in the same city, he faced wrestlers from Peru and Colombia, whom he also defeated.
Those victories were key in the career of ‘Chito’ Vera. And it is that in 2013 he was invited to the Panama Fight League, his first international event.
But how did it get there? “They (the managers) see that you are a fighter and they hire you to be in that event, it is not by classification. You fight for money and if you win, your record goes up, ”the athlete explained that year to the newspaper El Universo.
And he added that during the fight he was nervous, but what gave him security was the message he received from his coach: “You have sacrificed and trained a lot to be stopped here.”
Vera won that mixed martial arts event and caught the attention of the organizers and the rivals themselves.
“At the time of the fight I gave my all. In the second round I had problems, I got a little tired and it made it difficult for me because the opponent was strong (…) Frank was in my corner and if it hadn’t been like that, I bet I’d lose the fight”, commented the fighter.
Vera decided to go live in the United States to evolve in her career and acquire greater competitiveness and international contact. California became her new home.
In 2014 he was part of the first generation of the reality show The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Latin America and officially debuted in the octagon with the Werdum team. In his first meeting, he knocked out the Mexican Henry Briones and advanced to the semifinals.
Although he could not dispute that instance due to a problem with his skin.
‘Chito’ Vera climbed impressively, until on November 15 of that year he officially debuted in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) , the most prestigious mixed martial arts company in the world.
It was against the Mexican Marco Beltrán at UFC 180 and lost by unanimous decision of the judges.
In his next fight, Vera faced Roman Salazar, on August 8, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 73. There he achieved his first victory by submission in the second round. In addition, he won the best performance award of the evening.
During his first fights, the support of his wife, María Paulina Escobar, was a fundamental pillar to continue his career and not fade away.
Their first daughter was born in 2011 with Moebius syndrome, which is a congenital disease characterized by non-progressive facial palsy and impaired ocular abduction in one or both eyes.
Their second son was born in 2015 and finally their third daughter was born in 2018.
For ‘Chito’ Vera, her children are the engine of her life. In several interviews, she has always insisted that he seeks to give them the best example and clear principles.
And so, surrounded by the support of his family, the Ecuadorian athlete has become one of the most important exponents of the industry in his category (bantamweight).
As of March 24, he has a record of 20 wins and seven losses. In addition, he has eight victories by knockout and another eight by submission.
Vera occupies third place in the bantamweight world ranking and his greatest challenge is to be crowned champion of the category. He will not rest until he achieves it and brings more joy to a hobby that is growing more and more in Ecuador.