MANILA, Philippines – After more than a year on the sidelines, Filipino-American fighter Brandon Vera will return to action in December in his promotional debut for One Fighting Championship (One FC).
Holding a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, September 3 at the NBA Café in Taguig City, Vera publicly confirmed his comeback bout, which takes part of One FC’s year-end event at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on December 5, against a yet-to-be-determined foe.
“I always wanted to fight in Manila. I haven’t had the chance to do that in any organization. I am super excited and blessed to showcase my talent and skills in front of you,” Vera stated.
The 37-year-old known as “Truth” parted ways with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in June after working in the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion for nearly nine years.
Since his UFC release, Vera opted to direct his career-path to One FC, inking an exclusive multi-fight deal with Asia’s largest MMA organization this past July.
Although it is more practical to join UFC’s rival companies in the United States such as Bellator MMA and World Series of Fighting, Vera disclosed that One FC became the more appealing product to him because the promotion offered him an opportunity to strut his wares in front of a hometown crowd.
“When I got the call [from One FC], I almost fell out of my chair. I wanted to be here. My very first question was ‘Where would the next fight be?’ Their answer is ‘Manila.’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m in. Thank you!’ It was an easy choice,” he tells Rappler.
In addition, Vera admitted that One FC’s implementation of dynamic fight rules partially influenced his decision to make the jump.
One FC uses the international rule-set which blends a combination of best combat practices from all over the globe, permitting soccer kicks, stomps to the body and legs, and knee-strikes to a standing or grounded opponent.
In the event that a match goes the distance, it will go to a judges’ decision as the three cageside officials will score the bout in its entirety, not round-by-round.
“It’s an extreme advantage to me because I’m waiting to fight under these rules for so long. I am very much looking forward to kick somebody in the face while on the ground. It opens a whole new floodgate of rules and styles that I can utilize,” said Vera, who has fought under the unified MMA rules since his first prizefighting stint in 2002.
Vera (12-7, 1 NC) last fought in August 2013 on the undercard of the UFC 164 pay-per-view, where he was stopped by Ben Rothwell on a third-round technical knockout.
The 6-foot-2 Alliance MMA representative joined the UFC in October 2005 as a heavily-hyped heavyweight prospect, finishing seven of his eight adversaries, including former UFC titleholder Frank Mir.
He was expected to vie for the UFC heavyweight belt following an impressive 8-0 winning streak, but a yearlong contract dispute spoiled his plans for a championship crack.
By the time it was resolved, Vera was off his game and instantly dropped two-straight disappointing setbacks to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum.
Vera then elected to move down to light heavyweight, but the outcomes were mixed as he came up short to notable names such as reigning 205-pound king Jon Jones, MMA legend Randy Couture, one-time UFC champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Keith Jardine.
The last time Vera had his hand raised in victory inside the cage was when he outpointed Eliot Marshall at UFC 137 in October 2011.
For his initial assignment as a One FC combatant, Vera affirmed that he would still be competing at heavyweight, which has a weight perimeter of 265 pounds.
“I hate cutting weight and I’m tired cutting weight. It seems pointless at this stage,” he quipped.
His addition to the One FC heavyweight division puts extra depth on a gritty roster that includes James McSweeney, Tony Johnson, Paul Cheng, Chi Lewis Parry, Alain Ngalani and Chris Lokteff.
With the chance to revitalize his MMA career, Vera sets his sights on a heftier prize as he desires to become the inaugural One FC heavyweight champion.
“It’s a dream to become a champion in this organization. From the very start of my career, I never handpicked my opponents I will fight anyone just to be the first One FC heavyweight champion and reign as long as possible,” he said. – Rappler.com