After being out of action for 10 months, Brandon Vera will finally return in the Octagon to face Brazilian Thiago Silva in the main card of UFC 125 this Sunday, January 1.
All support is with Vera this Sunday but so is the pressure, given that another loss could spell the demise of his UFC career.
Demise, pertaining to Dana White’s 3-fight rule: you lose thrice in a row and you’re out of the promotion.
A much-needed win would save his slumping career. You remember, he lost two in a row since last year: at the hands of Randy Couture at UFC 105 and Jon Jones at UFC Live.
The Jones fight in particular damaged Vera so bad he ended up recuperating for the rest of the year.
Vera however has been in a make or break situation before, suffering consecutive losses against Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum back in 2007, eventually redeeming himself with a unanimous decision win against Reese Andy on his light heavyweight debut.
Thiago Silva on the other hand is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 108 and has since been out of action in all but two days of 2010.
He was slated to fight at UFC 117 last August but was forced off the card with a serious back injury.
Two of the finest Muay Thai fighters, Vera and Silva were actually once slated to fight for a UFC Championship at one point.
Brandon Vera was once a heavyweight prodigy himself, having won his first four UFC fights in devastating fashion, capped off by a TKO win over Frank Mir at UFC 65 in 2006. Dude even once declared he would become UFC Heavyweight and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion one day.
With Thiago Silva, even more so. He was an owner of an impressive 13-0 record, twelve of them by way of knockout or submission. His only two losses were at the hands of former UFC champions Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans.
A victory over Thiago would not only give me career salvation, it could also be Vera's ticket to a long-awaited redemption. Silva after all is the only top name he's beaten in a long time. And if that does happen, he'll be back in the mix in no time.
So here's to hoping Brandon Vera scores a big 'W' this Sunday - no questions asked and no more slumps. UFC 125 will air live January 1 on Balls Channel.
WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO