Was it wise for the UFC to cut Brandon Vera? After all, Vera's early UFC tenure was loaded with highlight reel submissions and knockouts. Even in defeat, his last two losses to Ben Rothwell and Shogun Rua were very entertaining affairs. Truthfully, Vera's record doesn't look much different than that of Diego Sanchez over the past few years. Why would the UFC cut a fighter in the historically thin heavyweight division while keeping around a gatekeeper like Sanchez at 170? Maybe it has to do with the fact that Sanchez hasn't been finished since the B.J. Penn loss in 2009. While Vera was on the wrong end of highlight reel knockouts from Rothwell, Rua and Jones.
I started watching mma in 2005 and witnessed Brandon Vera explode into the UFC in 2006. Sure, in hindsight, his defeats over Fabiano Scherner and Justin Eilers aren't as impressive as they seemed. He also shut down a still partially crippled ex-champ in Frank Mir with clinch striking. After Vera's contract was up, there was talk about him crossing over to strikeforce and becoming champion there. Vera returned against Tim Sylvia and got Tim Sylvia'd. Sylvia just used his strength to press Vera up against the cage. His following loss to Fabricio Werdum seemed to be somewhat of an early stoppage. Meanwhile, fans and journalist discussed a drop to 205 for Vera. A close, split-decision loss to Keith Jardine followed. The very same Jardine who had recently outpointed Liddell. Shortly thereafter, Vera lost a close fight to Couture. Couture even admitted he thought Vera won.
It wasn't till Jon Jones' utter destruction of Brandon Vera's orbital bone that fans, like myself, saw that Vera just might not turn out to be the great fighter everyone talked about. Even with the losses to Sylvia, Couture, Werdum and Jardine, I could still convince myself Brandon was just a developing fighter. After seeing a far younger fighter in Jon Jones destroy him, I lost faith that Vera would be an elite fighter.
Brandon Vera will be missed. I really hope he gets to Bellator or WSOF. I've enjoyed his fights. Personally, I think Brandon Vera was a much more exciting fighter than Diego Sanchez. MMA fans can agree to disagree with me if they like.
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