One of the more interesting stories emanating from this weekend’s UFC 164 card, is that of Brandon “The Truth” Vera.
Vera, who’s been with the promotion since 2005 and has a UFC record of 8, 6 & 1, straddling 2 divisions (heavyweight & light-heavyweight), entered the promotion amidst great promise and expectation and for a while, it all seemed to be going his way.
He won his first 4 fights all by stoppage and was indeed touting himself to be the first fighter to hold both the heavyweight and light-heavyweight belts. However, none of that came to pass.
In the years that have followed and subsequent to his losses to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum, Vera sought better fortune in the light-heavyweight division, however, it's evaded him there, as well. In the 9 fights that he’s had at 205, he’s only garnered 4 wins, with 1 stoppage and has only been able to string together back-to-back victories once.
In short, his career since 2007 has been a hit-and-miss affair and one marked by no singular great fight or achievement. In his last outing, which was August of 2012 and a bout with Shogun Rua, Vera was laid out on the canvas in the 4th in, what was, another lack-luster performance on his behalf.
In his fight tomorrow night, the Truth will once again venture back to the heavyweight division by taking-on Ben Rothwell and in doing so Vera says he feels “at home.”
Brandon feels that fighting at 205 was a struggle. He said he would start a camp at 238 and it would go “beautifully”, however, as camp would wear on and his weight drop, he would become un-happy, would get pushed around in the gym, couldn’t do what he wanted to do and generally felt like “****”.
In terms of the decision to make the move back to heavyweight, Vera says it wasn’t really a decision, as much as how it simply worked out that way. As he put it to “SportsNetCanada’s” Joe Ferraro:
“Ever since the Shogun fight I’ve been training…I didn’t stop training. I never stopped training, kind of like I was in camp, training 2 times a day, sometimes 3 times a day, with no fight lined up. Eating correctly, lifting, I got a lifting coach, training and I started putting on weight. I got up to about 252, was the heaviest I’ve been and the UFC called and said they were looking for you to fight again. I said okay, no worries. Would you mind asking them if I could fight at heavyweight?...They said, yes and it’s been a blessing in disguise. I’ve been able to eat. Every day I show up to train, I’m still happy, I’m not hurting…nobody was pushing me around the gym. I’m still throwing everybody around and doing what I want to do. So, I feel more at home. I feel at home.”
I have to say, that between the interview and his weigh-in appearance, Vera looks to be healthy, happy and focused. He should be considerably quicker than Rothwell and if he can keep it on the feet, should have a good chance of taking home a win. This is definitely a fight that I’d like to see go his way and if there’s any hope of him making any noise in this division, then I hope he can start making it tomorrow night.
The thing that I will be looking for the most from Vera on Saturday night, will be aggression and confidence; something I think he’s lacked in the past. Beyond that, I’d like to see that his cardio is up to scratch and that if he’s taken down, that he can get back-up and continue on.