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5 Things You Might Not Know About Jared Vanderaa


Jared Vanderaa can not afford another backward step.

“The Mountain” will look to strengthen his position on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster when he confronts Alexey Oleynik in a three-round UFC 273 heavyweight prelim on Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Vanderaa enters the cage on the heels of back-to-back losses, perhaps one hiccup away from venturing into pink-slip territory. He last appeared at UFC 271, where he wound up on the wrong side of a split decision against former champion Andrei Arlovski on Feb. 12.

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As Vanderaa moves ever closer to his pivotal battle with Oleynik, here are five things you might not know about him:

1. He shares a hometown with a well-known Olympian.


Vanderaa was born on May 12, 1992 in Richland, Washington—a city of some 60,000 people located a little more than 200 miles to the southeast of Seattle. He shares a hometown with soccer star Hope Solo, who helped lead the United States to two Olympic gold medals as a goalkeeper in 2008 and 2012.

2. Attention grabs were one of his early specialties.


The 6-foot-4, 265-pound heavyweight made his professional mixed martial arts debut at the age of 23, as he submitted John Rizzo with a rear-naked choke in just 29 seconds under the King of the Cage banner on June 14, 2015. Vanderaa finished his first five opponents, two of them inside of a minute.

3. Championship pursuits took him to another hemisphere.


Vanderaa remains one of only eight men to lay claim to the heavyweight championship in the South Africa-based Extreme Fighting Championship organization. Ruan Potts, Andrew van Zyl, Brendon Groenewald, Cyril Asker, Danie van Heerden, Dalcha Lungiambula and Thabani Mndebela are the others. Vanderaa held the EFC title from March 16, 2019 to Nov. 4, 2020.



4. He does not always see eye to eye with the judges.


The Dana White’s Contender Series graduate has compiled a 2-3 record in five bouts that have gone the distance. Two of Vanderaa’s three decision losses resulted in split scorecards: the aforementioned defeat against Arlovski and a five-round setback against van Zyl at EFC 66 on Dec. 16, 2017.

5. He made MMA a family affair.


Vanderaa owns and operates a Team Quest satellite in Hemet, California, roughly a 90-minute drive from San Diego. Lauren Silva, his fiancée and the mother of his two children, serves as co-owner and manager.

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