With UFC 95 now just four days away, it's officially time to start getting jacked for Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera this Saturday, November 14th. It will air for free on Spike TV and caps off a three-hour broadcast from the M.E.N. area in Manchester, England that will air via tape-delay at 5:00 pm/PST, with a replay scheduled at 9:00 pm/PST.
One of the most decorated fighters in MMA, Randy "The Natural" Couture (16-10) is returning to action after just seven weeks off, having fought recently against "Minotauro" Nogueira (32-5-1) at UFC 102 on August 29th. This fight also marks Couture's return to light-heavyweight (LHW), which, realistically, is "The Natural's" natural division. He tipped the scales at 220lbs. for his most recent fight, which simply won't cut it against the gang of circus freaks that currently populate the UFC's heavyweight (HW) division. This forty-six-year-old continues to defy the passage of time and, despite losing his last two consecutive tilts, still appears to be sharpening his skills and rounding out his overall game. That said, Couture has made no secret of his intention to force Brandon Vera into a wrestling match on Saturday, which is no surprise since grappling is Randy's first athletic love and his greatest area of strength.
Couture's opponent, Brandon "The Truth" Vera (11-3) also fought at UFC 102, where he handily outpointing the extremely tough Krzysztof Soszynski (18-9-1). Though he's known mostly for his solid Muay Thai and stellar submissions, Brandon "The Truth" Vera has been quick to point out that he's no neophyte in the world of wrestling, having trained at the discipline since the sixth grade. Will that be enough to defuse Randy's near-Olympic-level Greco-Roman base? Time will tell, but don't get to thinking that this is some kind of tune-up fight for Couture. Vera may be 3-3 in his last six octagon appearances, but those are also his only three career loses and two of them were close decisions. The only finish that Vera has ever suffered was a highly questionable TKO stoppage awarded to Fabricio Werdum (13-4-1) in "The Truth's" last appearance at HW at UFC 85.
Vera knows that to become a legend at a given weight class you must beat one. He achieved that feat at HW when he put away Frank Mir (12-4) at UFC 65, and he'll look to do it again this Saturday at LHW against MMA's elder statesman. Couture knows that three consecutive losses in the UFC would lead many fans to begin calling for his retirement. He's out to forestall that kind of talk for at least another year and to move one step closer to earning a final title fight to cap off his already-storied career.