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Youth over experience: Vera will be too much for Couture

Preview by Brady Crytzer

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Manchester on Saturday, November 14th featuring a light heavyweight contest of survival and arrival.

Dropping down in weight, UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture looks to keep his career alive by taking on highly touted knockout artist Brandon “The Truth” Vera. While Randy brings the experience, will it be enough to get to the bottom of the younger Vera? Or will “The Truth” finally set Couture free and end his legendary career.

Striking: Although Randy Couture has improved his striking greatly since his return to heavyweight in 2007, it appeared to be out of sheer necessity. During his tenure as UFC world light heavyweight champion, ground n’ pound was the name of the game for “The Natural.” While its is hard to determine which brand of Couture will take center cage in Manchester, there is little doubt that Vera will rely on his quick footwork and snapping muay thai to dictate the pace of this fight. Since dropping down to the 205 pound limit, Vera has seemed hesitant to throw meaningful shots as only one of his three wins has been decided before the final bell. Despite that intriguing figure, Vera has proven time and time again that natural gifts, such as speed and athleticism, combined with world class training under Rob Kaman makes for a dangerous, and potential lethal, combination.

While Randy Couture has rewritten the book on dirty boxing, he will find it hard to close the distance and avoid the quick kicks and knees of Vera. During the struggle, “The Natural” could find himself staring face up at the bright lights of M.E.N Arena.

Grappling: Regardless of his age, Couture has become one of the few trainers in the sport of mixed martial arts that truly practices what he preaches. A master of game planning and transforming raw wrestlers into Octagon powerhouses, Couture’s employs Greco-Roman wrestling techniques to dominate fighters in the clinch and keep them on their back. Although Vera how shown well rounded submissions skills and has a strong wrestling background of his own, there is no heavyweight more powerful and technical in the Greco clinch than “The Natural.” Vera can certainly survive if he is taken down, but he will find it hard to do anything but that with Couture on top of him.

Couture has quite literally made a career out of dropping down to light heavyweight and pushing his weight around. Although his past opponents included the likes of Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and Vitor Belfort, Couture will find it difficult to track down the shifty Vera. If he closes the distance however it is smooth sailing once in the top position.

How They Match Up: Randy Couture enjoys a significant wrestling edge, but MMA is a game of “what have you done for me lately.” In August of 2009, Couture went three rounds with “Minotauro” Nogueira but revealed some glaring weaknesses in the process.

Although he came to fight in great shape, pundits at ringside were smacked with the realization that, after being knocked off of his feet repeatedly by the relatively light-punching Nogueira, Couture can no longer take the punches he used to.

Brandon Vera has not been in the habit of stopping opponents in his new weight class, but a combination of sharp striking and Couture’s weak chin will be the money maker for “The Truth.” Look for Vera to stay patient on the outside and time Couture rushing in for a desperation clinch for the KO in round two.


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