Brandon “The Truth” Vera is set to face Michael Patt on the UFC 96 undercard. An unusual spot for Vera who has to his credit a number of highlight real finishes, but not surprising given his recent woes. Winner of his first six fights, Vera has gone 1-3 in his last four. And that lone win, a decision against Reese Andy at UFC Fight Night 14, was by no means impressive or entertaining to watch.
A year-and-a-half ago, Vera was an undefeated heavyweight in the UFC, with notable wins over Justin Eilers, Assuerio Silva and Frank Mir. With world-class Muay Thai, good submissions and long-range striking ability in his arsenal, Vera seemed destined to be a future UFC title holder.
His UFC 77 match against Tim Sylvia, who was coming off a heavyweight title loss to Randy Couture, was expected – with a victory – to put him at the front of the line for a title shot. Instead, this is where the 1-3 streak began with a dull, unanimous decision loss to Sylvia. Vera broke his hand in the first round, which obviously limited his striking ability.
Next up was Fabricio Werdum at UFC 85, a chance for Vera to stay in contention for title fight. He was stopped with only 20 seconds left in Round 1. A furious Vera argued that he was attempting to weather out the storm that was Werdum’s ground and pound to the end of the round and that the referee should not have stopped the fight. Nevertheless, that made it two in a row as a heavyweight prompting him to drop down to light-heavyweight.
Vera never quite looked as though he belonged as a heavyweight fighter. Up to as heavy as 235 sloppy pounds in those days, Vera now admits he’s more comfortable fighting at 205 – a more natural weight for his frame. Only problem with that is the UFC’ light-heavyweight division has considerably more depth and talent than the heavyweight division.
Following that lack-luster victory over Andy, he narrowly lost a split-decision to Keith Jardine at UFC 89. Vera believes he should have won – a sentiment also shared by many fans and onlookers. The result – while he now finds himself on the undercard of UFC 96, Jardine is in the main event against “Rampage” Jackson.
So in looking more closely at those 3 losses, it can be argued that Vera caught some bad breaks – literally in the Sylvia fight.
At UFC 96, will we find out the truth about “The Truth”? If he loses, probably. A loss could mean he just hasn’t got what it takes to be the star the UFC wants him to be. A win, on the other hand, against an opponent who he is expected to beat does not necessarily prove his worth. In my opinion, this is a fight Vera has to win in decisive fashion – first round KO style.
Asked for his thoughts on the upcoming fight with Michael Patt, Vera had this to say:
“I see this being real bad for Mike Patt. Real bad. No matter what he gives me, I’m going to take. If you want to go to the ground, then I’m going to cut you on the ground. I’ve got three five-minute rounds to either break something on him or break something on me, and that’s how it’s going to be. It’s going to be a long night for Mike Patt.”
Patt has a record of 15-3, but his only fight in the UFC was a first round TKO at the hands of Tim Boetsch at UFC 88. He does have 9 submission victories to his credit, so is Vera worried?
“I’m not worried about his Jiu-Jitsu at all.”
The only thing Vera should be worried about is returning to the top of the heap, starting with a dominant victory at UFC 96. I believe he will. I believe in “The Truth”.