This past Saturday night, light heavyweight Brandon Vera was left defenseless in the fourth frame of a headlining bout against Mauricio Rua at UFC on FOX 4, losing yet again despite a valiant effort against the legendary Brazilian. For most folks, a 4-6 record over ten tilts would typically result in a release from the world’s foremost MMA organization. However, in the case Vera it seems many might argue an exception should be made based on his gusty showing against “Shogun” and generally entertaining efforts.
So which side is right?
Granted, I get why certain folks want to see Vera’s head in a basket. He hasn’t won convincingly in essentially three years and only finished Michael Patt since 2007. He’s occasionally confident to the point of cockiness and had a golden opportunity in front of him years ago he passed on in hopes of getting more money only for things to pan out differently than he’d expected.
That being said, Vera is a solid asset the UFC should hold onto. He may be 1-3 in his last four fights but all of the losses came at the hands of former UFC champions (and some might say he deserved the decision against Randy Couture). He’s also dealt with a slew of injuries over that period, making it difficult for him to compete consistently or polish his craft. Still, against Rua he showed tremendous heart and came close to swinging the result his way on a few occasions.
On top of his ability to at least hang with some of MMA’s top talent, Vera is also an exciting fighter with an equally enjoyable personality. He prefers stand-up but has a slick submission arsenal, isn’t afraid to eat punches in order to land his own strikes, and is always mindful of whether or not the crowd is having a good time. He gives great interviews and feeds off emotion even when it makes him vulnerable. Furthermore, Vera’s heritage as a proud Filipino gives the UFC an ambassador to the East who could headline a card in Manila with a response from local fans akin to even the most popular title-holder.
If Vera loses again badly, or even two more in a row, cutting him would be understandable if not mandatory. Until then, however, he’s a unique talent and the kind of fighter people want to watch even if he’s on the losing end of a bout.
Long story short, “The Truth” should not be set free.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC