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UFC on FOX 4 – Does Brandon Vera Stand A Chance?
By Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester
Is anyone giving Brandon Vera a chance at beating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC on FOX on Saturday August 4th? Is he still relevant enough to be in the main event or is he just an afterthought of all the potential that has seemingly gone to waste? These are valid questions as we enter into the days before the UFC’s fourth venture on FOX.
It is hard not to mention Brandon Vera’s name without mentioning his stint at heavyweight where he had all of the potential in the world to be one of the top fighters of all time. From submitting Assuerio Silva to delivering a technical knockout to Frank Mir, Vera was young and on the top of the world. You cannot also forget to mention how he once proclaimed that he would hold both the UFC heavyweight title and the UFC light-heavyweight title at the same time. In those days and with those performances, it was hard not to believe him.
Now, however, it is a different story. He started out 8-0 before suffering his first loss to Tim Sylvia. Vera later loss to Fabricio Werdum by TKO, which for the time ended his career at heavyweight. Dropping down to light-heavyweight he seemed much more loose and crafty with his Muay-Thai. And despite a split decision loss to Keith Jardine in his second fight at light-heavyweight, he went on a two fight winning streak afterwards that placed him opposite of an aging yet still game Randy Couture. They would fight to a close decision and Vera would lose to the Hall of Famer.
He just never seemed to be the same Brandon Vera after that. Some would argue that he was not the same Vera before then either, but it was more obvious that the loss to Randy Couture affected him mentally. If that had affected him mentally, then the quick devastating loss he was handed by then rising up and comer in Jon Jones must have really taken him mentally out of the game.
In what ended up being his last fight in the UFC at the time, Vera was badly beaten up by the tough Brazilian Thiago Silva. In that fight, Vera just couldn’t seem to get his bearings, and in the third round Silva smashed Vera’s nose. Upon standing up, Vera showed to the crowd just had badly his nose was broken. He was cut from the UFC shortly after the fight, but his loss to Silva and his release was later overturned as Silva failed his post-fight drug test. The UFC brought him back at UFC 137 to face Elliot Marshall, where he won by decision, despite it being a rather close fight against an opponent Vera should have beaten easily.
Now 8-5-1 in the UFC (12-5-1 overall), Brandon Vera may be going up against his toughest opponent yet in Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Originally scheduled to face James Te Huna at UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz vs. Weidman, many see this replacement fight being a much stiffer test for him. In Shogun, he’ll be facing a former PRIDE and UFC champion. Shogun’s last four opponents have been against either a current or former UFC light-heavyweight champion. Never losing back-to-back fights, Shogun’s last fight against Dan Henderson was a battle between titans and considered by many as one of the greatest fights of all-time. So I ask, does Vera stand a chance?
Vera’s best chance is to implement more leg kicks similar to his fight against Mike Patt. Staying outside is also a good option, but this could also lead him into danger against Shogun’s lunging punches, similar to the one that put away Chuck Liddell. If anything, Jon Jones showed the world that Shogun is susceptible to clinch work. Vera’s Muay-Thai clinch work could suffice in this case if he were to go that route. So is he just an afterthought? Vera sure doesn’t think so. He claims that he is a new man. But this is something that MMA fans have heard before. So can he bring something new into his fight against Shogun? We’ll soon find out on August 4th by watching the UFC on FOX.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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