The Film Room: Rob Font

By Kevin Wilson Jun 21, 2019
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Rob Font will draw his 10th assignment inside the Octagon when he meets short-notice replacement John Lineker in the UFC Fight Night 154 co-headliner on Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina. Font owns a 6-3 mark in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and a win over Lineker would allow him to avenge a May 2016 decision defeat to “Hands of Stone” and move him one step closer to title contention at 135 pounds.

The 31-year-old Font supplies the material for this installment of The Film Room.

Font is one of the most interesting contenders in the bantamweight division right now and appears to be a few wins away from jumping into title contention. Although he has had some setbacks, he clearly has the skills to compete with the best the 135-pound weight class has to offer, and at 31 years old, he finds himself in the middle of his fighting prime. Font is a striker and almost always works on the lead, but what makes him such an interesting contender is his ability to fight comfortably in all aspects of standup. He can remain patient and come forward with quick combos before resetting at a safe distance; he can rush opponents to the cage with wild combos in the pocket; and he can sit back and counter aggressive opponents when needed. Throughout a fight, he will continuously switch between initiating exchanges in the pocket and patiently coming forward with single strikes, a trait that makes him difficult to read. He utilizes a wide variety of combinations and rarely relies on the same techniques. With every fight, he seems to favor something different. Against Pedro Munhoz, it was a lead hook to left straight. Against Sergio Pettis, it was a simple 1-2 down the middle. Against Joey Gomez, it was a 1-2 followed by an uppercut.

Font does his best work when patiently leading, but he can overwhelm opponents with pressure and exchanges in the pocket or against the cage. When Font smells blood, he will rush forward with strikes but still takes a measured approach by mixing his attacks from head to toe while rarely putting himself out of position to defend. Do not expect to see him rush in against Lineker, but we know he can excel in a firefight if the situation calls for it.

Font is an intelligent striker and a master at reading opponents’ reactions and using those reactions against them later in fights. This is why he seems to change his money punch with every outing. Instead of going back to the combination he executes best, he exploits an opponent’s historic struggles. This happened in his last fight with Pettis. Font early on realized that the Roufusport standout had no answer for his jab and simple but quick 1-2s down the middle, and as the fight progressed, he used nothing but the 1-2 to exploit this deficiency. Although it does not get mentioned often, being able to read your opponents and switch your style based on areas where they struggle is difficult to pull off but even more difficult for an opponent to prepare for.

We do not see Font work on the counter often, but he has shown a nice counter straight right, especially when the opponent is throwing a low kick. He is one of the most aggressive fighters in the division, but Lineker is even more aggressive, so we might see Font rely on his counters more than ever in the rematch.

Although he lost the first fight between the two, Font showed he knows how to take away Lineker’s best weapons; he just was not able to pull it off. Instead of getting flustered by the pressure like most of Lineker’s opponents, Font stayed calm, focused on his defense and circled off the cage when the Brazilian got overzealous. He did not get the win but his game plan was on the right track, and it will be interesting to see what he changes in the rematch.

Font does not go to the ground often, but he has shown some brilliant takedown entries. He has only landed seven takedowns during his UFC run, but he can mix up his striking with brief moments of grappling to keep the opponent guessing. No one anticipates this fight between two strikers hitting the ground, but if Font gets flustered with the pressure, it may behoove him to shoot for the hips. Remember, T.J. Dillashaw enjoyed a tremendous amount of success against Lineker on the floor a few years ago. Advertisement
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