There’s a reason “The Truth” is an MMA superstar and it’s not just because of his spectacular highs that included a KO of former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir but also because of his catastrophic downward spiral of losses from fellow big name striker Shogun Rua to a perennial second fiddle talent like Brazil’s Thiago Silva.
You see, the FIl-Am fighter may already have veteran status with a 12-7-1 record in his pro mixed martial arts (MMA) career, but he’s only won once since 2009; and that’s against Eliot Marshall at UFC 137. Who’s Marshall? Exactly.
After a series of losses in his last five fights, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brass decided to finally let Vera go. By the afternoon of July 13, One Fighting Championship had announced the signing of “The Truth,” to their ranks with an expected bout later in 2014.
“At this point he is signed with ONE FC. More details to follow,” succinctly stated Loren Mack, One FC’s head of media relations.
An earlier tweet also confirmed the move.
— ONE FC (@ONEFCMMA) July 13, 2014
One FC has yet to clarify what weight class Vera will be competing in, it’s only logical to add the man to the heavyweight division, especially since 230 pounders are in short supply in the biggest MMA promotion in Asia.
Vera trains under the Alliance MMA camp and has always represented the Philippines well what with his Baybayin (Alibata) tattoos as well as flying the country’s flag or brandishing Pinoy colors on his fight shorts or walkout clothing; which means that, with the singing to One FC, he may yet get a chance to fight on Philippine soil, in front of a crowd of brown faces.
Though his fall was a hard one to watch, he was once so highly touted that his sound bytes about aiming to win two UFC titles from heavyweight down to light heavyweight were thought by analysts as a thing not that ambitious – or at least not too far-fetched.
To back it up, he built an 8-7 record in the UFC with wins over the likes of elite fighters like Frank Mir and Krzysztof Soszynski, but a TKO loss over Ben Rothwell and only one win over the past six bouts cemented his losing streak in the UFC.
At 36 years old, Vera is way past his prime in MMA. But he does still hold star power and an appearance in One FC will surely prove he’s a draw for the MMA crowd.
Sometimes he doesn’t show up, sometimes he’s as aggressive as any red-blooded Pinoy out for a nice scrap. He’s that kind of fighter. But then again even if his losses are hard to watch, they ARE extremely entertaining (hello, bitch slaps) – and when he’s backed up against the cage a switch looks like it gets turned on and, as in the case in the Shogun Rua fight, he can give as good as he gets.
Here’s some of the most incredibly amazing finishes and agonizingly cringe-worthy fights in “The Truth’s” MMA career inside the octagon. I think both are reasons to get excited for Vera after finding a new home in the One FC cage.
If Pinoy fans get to watch him in Manila, then so much the better, hey?
The Polish-Canadian fighter came to bang and Vera was hard-pressed to finish the man though he scored some incredible knees and strikes. In the end, The Truth gained a Unanimous Decision win over the former Ultimate Fighter (season 8) cast member and former TKO Heavyweight Champion.
A head kick and some knees from The Truth, and that was lights out for the Miletich fighter Eilers.
This is where Vera’s amazing muay thai served him well, levelling Mike Patt, who’s the owner and head instructor of Dayton Mixed Martial Arts Academy with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pedigree under Jorge Gurgel and kickboxing skills Oscar Kallet and Jose Connors, with vicious kicks and knees. Victory came with a TKO.
The awesome feather in Vera’s highlight reel cap is still the former heavyweight champ. Keeping the elite BJJ practitioner at a distance, Vera was able to pick his kicks and punches, eventually catching Mir in a plum clinch and bringing him down with a few knees. The ref stopped the fight after Mir turtled up and Vera rained down some hammer fists.
Proof that Fil-Ams in the US lean more towards hip-hop than rock, rapper Mike Swift made this song for Vera’s walk out music, which was used at the Vera vs Mir bout in the UFC. This’ll sound great over the MOA speakers if One FC brings Vera to fight on Philippine shores.
This one was an all-out war that had Vera gassing out and being out struck by the hardier and prominently tougher Brazilian and Chute Box fighter in Shogun. He did however get some very good kicks in that proved he wasn’t going to give up until he gave as good as he got.
After losing to Randy Couture it seemed logical to face Vera with up-and-comer propsect in Jon Jones for a tune-up fight and get him back on his winning track. Except “Bones” was anything but and walked right through Vera with his superior wrestling and continent-wide reach advantage in previously undetected gravitas.
Jones, of course, is still the light heavyweight kingpin of the UFC and Vera languishes in the “post-Octagon” section of his career. There goes that tune-up fight.
Likely one of the most humiliating moments in Vera’s career was back in 2011, when he fought the brash and cocky Brazilian Silva. After being taken down at will and pressed up against the cage, Vera scored a beautiful knockdown by leg kick. . .and not much else.
Silva then began taunting him with punches to the ass and bitch slaps to the ear as he was held down. After the loss the cameras revealed that said slaps were so hard they broke Vera’s nose and made it as crooked as a swastika. Yes, a very very grotesque injury.
Although the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) later overturned the win because of a fake urine sample, the vid of Vera getting his ass handed to him in a very degrading way will forever be circulated among MMA fans as an occurrence of a ruinous “mental breakdown” in the Octagon – Vera’s words to commentator Karyn Bryant, not mine.