Defining Moments: Brandon Vera


Brandon Vera was called a future champion by many on his debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It took him a little longer than expected to climb this mountain, but “The Truth” has reigned at the top of the One Championship heavyweight division since 2015.

Although he has rarely competed since winning the crown, Vera will look to pull off his third title defense when he takes on two-time NAIA National Champion Arjan Singh Bhullar in the One Championship main event “Dangal” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday. Vera is coming off her first promotional loss, when a bid for light heavyweight gold against Aung La N Sang failed at the One Championship “Century Part 2” in October 2019.

Ahead of her showdown with Bhullar, here are five moments that defined Vera’s professional MMA career.

Flashing potential

After securing two regional victories, Vera entered the World Extreme Cagefighting one night heavyweight tournament on January 22, 2005 in Lemoore, California. The fighter with Filipino and Italian roots started his evening with a 51-second knockout of André Mussi, a heavyweight from Rio de Janeiro. “The Truth” notched an even more significant triumph in the final, when he scored a medical timeout in the second round from “The Ultimate Fighter 2” contestant Mike Whitehead. That ended a four-game winning streak for Whitehead, who was already boasting an early career triumph over Ben Rothwell. Vera’s UFC debut came about four months later.

Announcing his presence

The fight that really rocked the MMA community about Vera was a quick finish by Frank Mir at UFC 65 “Bad Intentions” at the Arco Arena in Sacramento on November 18, 2006. Vera absolutely blitzed the old man. heavyweight champion, finishing Mir via knockout technique in just 69 seconds. It was a victory that was meant to propel this rising star into a heavyweight title shot. Instead, a contract dispute sidelined Vera for nearly a year, and when he returned back-to-back losses to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum prompted “The Truth” to move to the lightweight division.

Torch passage

By the time Vera was booked to face Jon Jones in the main event of UFC Live 1 at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado on March 21, 2010, he was no longer seen as the promising potential finishing his opponents. with regularity. Vera was a long way off the eight-game winning streak that started her career and had won just three of her last seven Octagon appearances. Instead, it was Jones who was “The Next Big Thing,” and he delivered that potential, winning by technical knockout 3:19 in the opening stanza. Jones landed a vicious elbow that shattered Vera’s cheekbone in three places, resulting in multiple plaques being inserted into her face to repair the injury. Of course, there was no shame in the loss: Jones has grown into a fighter many consider to be one of the greatest in UFC history.

Something remains in the tank

Back in the days when UFC and Fox were in the early stages of their broadcast partnership, every TV card on the network was a big deal – an opportunity to bring more mainstream MMA appeal to the masses. Vera got the chance to make UFC headlines on Fox 4 against iconic Mauricio Rua. With a big spotlight, a victory could have propelled “The Truth” back into contention in the light heavyweight division. Although Vera didn’t win that August 2012 night, he regained some credibility in a back-and-forth brawl with “Shogun” before falling by a 4:09 technical knockout in Round 4. “I wanted to do a performance so that no one would ever speak badly about the UFC. I wanted Shogun to know how much I respected him by the force with which I fought him. I wanted to prove everyone he was wrong. I haven’t finished by far, ”Vera said at the post-fight press conference.

The glory of the championship finally

Once a prospect who envisioned dominance of multiple divisions, Vera did not capture a belt with a major organization until December 11, 2015 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. There, Vera won the vacant One Championship heavyweight throne with a 26-second finish from Paul Cheng, the fastest save of his MMA career. Vera landed a pair of leg kicks, dropped her Taiwanese foe to one knee with a short left hand, and dropped her opponent with a head kick. Vera finished off Cheng with a barrage of hammer fists on the mat.

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