The main event of UFC 105 featuring Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera is intriguing to say the least. Not only does the style of each fighter pose questions, but the mental make up of each fighter and how they match up probably has more impact than anything. We are going to take a look at what each fighter brings to the table physically and mentally, and determine just how the fight will probably go down on Saturday. Check it all out below and after the jump.
Randy Couture brings a wealth of experience to the cage with him. He's primarily known for being tough mentally, and overcoming the odds time and time again. This fight will be no different in that he's 46 years of age, and is coming off of two consecutive losses albeit against top level competition. The following are Couture's keys to victory:
-Close the distance
-Push The Pace
-Keep Vera guessing, which will not allow him to find his rhythm standing
These are things that Couture excels at, and how he wins the majority of his fights anyway, so it won't be anything new or flashy. The most important thing is not allowing Vera to gain any confidence inside the cage and find his rhythm standing. I'm under the impression that Vera needs to get off early and often in this fight, or he could begin to feel some self-doubt begin to creep in if Couture finds early success.
Vera isn't as experienced as Randy, but he's a very experienced fighter. However, he doesn't possess any big fight experience the way Couture does. Vera is as talented as they come, but doesn't seem to be as strong mentally as he needs to be in regards to trusting the talent he has. He seems hesitant at times, and he who hesitates is lost or will lose in regards to MMA. However, Vera seems to be making small improvements with each fight since moving down to the UFC light heavyweight division. The following are his keys to victory:
-Don't get caught up in the awe of fighting your ‘idol'
-Establish range and find success EARLY
-Keep this fight standing at all cost unless you are able to take Couture down.
Vera fought another guy he had always looked up to in Frank Mir a few years back. However, I think it's safe to say that was a Frank Mir that wasn't anywhere close to 100% physically or mentally at that point. Couture could potentially present a lot of problems for Vera. If Vera can find success early, I think it's his fight to lose.
-Couture's ability to take a punch. He got dropped twice by Nogueira who isn't known for considerable punching power.
-Will the weight cut to 205 affect him negatively at 46 years of age, and not having done it in years?
-If Vera gets taken down, can he get back up to his feet? (He's not subbing Couture off his back)
The Fight Itself
We know that Couture ultimately wants to make this a wrestling match, or a fight in which he can clinch against the cage and use the old school tricks and dirty boxing. Basically, he wants to take Brandon Vera out of his comfort zone. Although Vera is well versed in clinch work and excels at muay thai, he'll want to stay clear of prolonged periods against the cage in the clinch. Also, although Couture has improved his standup considerably in the last few years, he doesn't want to get into prolonged striking exchanges with Vera who will enjoy about a 3 inch reach advantage. Vera also has great kicks, but I don't know how much he'll use them due to the threat of being taken down as a result of using them. He typically throws them very quick and powerful just above the knee, so he may be able to get away with it. If he lands them early, it could slow Couture down considerably and make it difficult to take Vera down later on.
Ultimately, I think Vera will win this fight. I know you can never count Couture out, and it would be a great bet if he was the heavy underdog. However, time catches up with us all, and I think it will finally catch up with Couture at UFC 105.