If talent were all that was required to make a world champion, Saturday night's main event would likely be a five round affair. Since Brandon "The Truth" Vera first began competing in the UFC, he's displayed a lot of skill and promise. Talent never seemed to be an issue. But it seems that he has stalled every time he's been on the cusp of breaking through to the highest level. That is why this fight with Couture at UFC 105 is so important for Vera. Fans are ready to embrace the guy. This is a great opportunity for Brandon to give them a reason to do so. This 32-year-old native of Norfolk, Virginia is known as a skilled striker. But people often forget that he is an equally skilled grappler. Brandon wrestled briefly at Old Dominion and even spent some time training at the U.S. Olympic wrestling facilities while in the Air Force. He also has trained extensively with renowned jiu-jitsu instructor Lloyd Irvin. Now would be a great time for Brandon to get a big win on a big stage against a big name. Vera has a professional record of 11-3 with seven wins coming by way of knockout and three wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced thus far is 70.1%.
Randy Couture is, deservedly, a legend in this sport. This 46-year-old fighter has his share of flaws, but he works as hard as anyone and seems to do his best when he is counted out. He is one of the most mentally disciplined and tough athletes that I've ever had the pleasure of watching. He has a lot of athletic ability and heart, both of which he'll need on Saturday night in England. I don't think anyone has to tell Randy how important this matchup is for him. Coming off of two consecutive losses has him in a position where he must win if he wants to really be in the title picture of the UFC's light heavyweight division. I look for Randy to come out strong early on, pinning Brandon against the cage or taking him down and scoring with some nice shots. Couture has a professional record of 16-10 with seven wins coming by way of knockout and two wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced thus far is 68.9%.
This one is hard to figure. It's true that Couture hasn't fared well recently. However, that was against some elite competition and he is now coming back down to 205 lbs. Even though he's well past his prime, Randy still has excellent clinch work that he uses to set up his dirty boxing and Greco takedowns. I believe that a prime Couture would definitely be a favorite against Brandon Vera. But since we're dealing in the here and now, I have serious doubts about Randy heading into this matchup with Vera. I believe that we'll see the most focused Brandon Vera that we've ever seen. I see Randy getting an early lead in this fight, with Vera coming on strong late to finish the veteran. My prediction: Brandon Vera by TKO in the 3rd. Who knows? Randy could very well prove me wrong (wouldn't be the first time). Who do you like in this matchup?