Brandon Michael Vera (born October 10, 1977) is an American mixed martial artist of Filipino descent. He is currently fighting in the UFC as a light heavyweight. He is a former WEC Heavyweight Champion and currently resides in San Diego, California.
Vera is the son of a Filipino father, Ernesto, and an Italian-American mother, Amelia. He grew up in a family with seven boys and three girls. He was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, and attended Lake Taylor High School where he excelled in wrestling and earned a four-year athletic scholarship to Old Dominion University. However, he dropped out of Old Dominion after a year and a half when he felt college was not for him, and enlisted himself in the United States Air Force.
In the Air Force, Vera joined the force's wrestling team and trained at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His military wrestling career was cut short in 1999 when he tore ligaments in his right elbow. Arthroscopic surgery repaired the ligaments, but he had nerve damage from the experience, causing him to be unable to use his right arm. He was released from the Air Force on a medical discharge.
Vera returned to Virginia where he steadily rehabilitated his arm, and eventually was fit enough to enter the Grapplers Quest submission wrestling competitions on the East Coast. There, his solitary training methods (he did not belong to a camp, and trained and cut weight on his own) caught the attention of Lloyd Irvin, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu Black Belt and coach, who invited him to train with his school. At Irvin's school, he was introduced to mixed martial arts. He also trained with Linxx Academy, and Hybrid Academy, where he received a foundation of his Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.Template:Citation needed
Mixed martial arts careerEdit
Vera's first professional mixed martial arts bout was on July 6, 2002, while training under Lloyd Irvin. He won the fight, against Adam Rivera, via TKO in the first round. He fought and won another bout in 2004 before entering a World Extreme Cagefighting heavyweight tournament in 2005, where he won two bouts in one night, including a bout against The Ultimate Fighter 2's Mike Whitehead in the finals.
Vera moved to San Diego, California on New Year's Eve of 2003 to accept a training position with City Boxing in San Diego. At City Boxing, Vera excelled as a trainer and was taken under the wing of City Boxing owner Mark Dion, who became his manager and introduced him to kickboxing great Rob Kaman. With Vera's success as a trainer and a mixed martial arts fighter, Dion gave Vera partial ownership of City Boxing.
Vera made his UFC debut at Ultimate Fight Night 2 on October 3, 2005 against Fabiano Scherner. Vera won the fight via KO mid-way through the second round. Following the Scherner bout, he faced Justin Eilers at UFC 57, winning early in the first round by knockout. At UFC 60, Vera defeated Assuerio Silva with a guillotine choke. On November 18, he needed just 69 seconds to stop ex-heavyweight champion Frank Mir who was still recovering from his motorcycle accident at UFC 65 in Sacramento, California.
White had been telling the media prior to UFC 65 that the winner of the Vera-Mir fight would face the winner of the Tim Sylvia-Jeff Monson bout, which was also being held that same night, for the championship.Template:Citation needed
In August, the UFC announced the "return" of Brandon Vera. His first fight was against Tim Sylvia at UFC 77. Vera lost for the first time via a unanimous decision. He also broke his left hand at 4:40 minutes into the first round.
Vera had his second loss at UFC 85 against Fabricio Werdum by TKO. The fight was controversially stopped by referee Dan Miragliotta as Werdum mounted him and did some ground and pound. After the stoppage, Vera was upset as he felt he was defending himself effectively.
After his two recent losses, Vera moved to the light heavyweight division, facing IFL alum Reese Andy at an impromptu UFC event, UFC Fight Nights 14 on July 19, 2008 on Spike TV. He defeated Andy via unanimous decision.
Vera recently staged a public workout at the Mall of Asia, located in Pasay City, Philippines, which was attended by over 4,000 people. After a subsequent workout by Chuck Liddell received a similar response, UFC officials announced a UFC event would be brought to the Philippines in 2009.
At UFC 89 Vera lost to Keith Jardine via a narrow split decision. Following the fight, Vera incurred criticism for his performance since his return to the UFC having been victorious in only one of his last four fights.
A more focused Vera appeared on the preliminary card of UFC 96. It was the first time Vera wasn't on the main card since he made his debut in the UFC. He made an impressive performance against Mike Patt, showing a more aggressive and intense striking approach and stopping him via TKO (Leg kicks) in the 2nd round.
Vera lost a close fight to Randy Couture via a controversial unanimous decision on November 14, 2009 in the main event at UFC 105, with the media comparing the decision to a previous UFC event (UFC 104 Machida-Rua) which prompted that MMA judging should be changed.
Vera faced Jon Jones on March 21, 2010 at UFC LIVE: Vera vs. Jones and lost via TKO (Injury) due to an elbow by Jones..The elbow delivered to stop the fight also broke Vera's face in 3 places.
Brandon's wife, Kerry Vera, is a also a mixed martial artist who now fights for Strikeforce. She was featured on the second season of Oxygen's Fight Girls. Vera has a tattoo on his back, inked in the Filipino writing system called Alibata. Clockwise, it reads mundo (earth), hangin (wind), apoy (fire), and tubig (water).
While staying in the Philippines, he trained Filipino actor, Richard Gutierrez, in martial arts and has been given a role as an assassin for Philippine primetime television show, Asero on the GMA Network.
In the latter part of his training for UFC 89, Vera was reportedly held at gun point by two men attempting to rob the house in which he was staying. Vera stated that the incident did not affect his performance versus Keith Jardine.
Mixed martial arts recordEdit
|Professional record breakdown|
|21||11 wins||5 losses|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Template:Cite news
- ↑ Template:Cite news
- ↑ ABS-CBN Interactive, Vera loses to Werdum
- ↑ 411mania.com, 411’s UFC 85: Bedlam Report 6.07.08
- ↑ UFC headed to Philippines in 2009 | MMAjunkie.com
- ↑ http://web.archive.org/20090402123749/www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=8470&zoneid=2
- ↑ UFC 105 Brandon Vera Randy Couture by decision. mmafighting.com. Retrieved on 2010-2-14.
- ↑ UFC 105 Roundtable. sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved on 2010-2-14.
- ↑ Template:Cite news
- ↑ http://archive.is/20120710063040/mmajunkie.com/news/18393/ufc-on-versus-1-main-card-recap-jones-dominates-vera-dos-santos-kos-gonzaga.mma
- ↑ Ouch! Vera's face broken from Jones elbow. Yahoo!Sports.com (2010-03-22). Retrieved on 2010-03-22.
- ↑ The Cast of Fight Girls. Oxygen Pressroom. Oxygen. Retrieved on 2007-07-11.
- ↑ Brandon Vera’s Baybayin tattoos : PinoyTattoos.com - Filipino Tattoo Source
- ↑ UFC warrior is now an actor in Kamandag. GMANews.tv. GMA Network Inc.. Retrieved on 2007-11-12.
- ↑ http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/vera-held-at-gunpoint-14888