Vera vs. Soszynski

UFC 102 takes place on Saturday, Aug. 29 from the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore. and one of the main card bouts features light heavyweights Brandon Vera and Krzysztof Soszynski.

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Vera is the favorite heading into the fight with a betting line of -200 while Soszynski has a line of +160 according to online sports book SBGGLOBAL. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this fight.

Brandon Vera (10-3 MMA Record):

Strengths: Vera exploded onto the UFC scene back in October of 2005 as a heavyweight, winning his first four fights by stoppage. Vera used quick muay thai striking with quickness and speed to pick apart his bigger opponents. But, once Vera lost, his mindset seemed to change and now he is more of a conservative striker that will be willing to take a fight to the ground if the opportunity arises. One thing that Vera has used effectively as of late is leg kicks, which helped him get a win in his last fight against Michael Pratt.

Weaknesses: Again, Vera seemed to lose his killer instinct after his first UFC loss. Vera jumped on the scene with a lot of explosiveness as he pushed the pace in his fights and made his opponents uncomfortable. Now, Vera seems tentative and waits for his opponent to make a mistake, which often doesn’t happen. Vera had lost three of his last five and needs to have a decisive win to get back in the top 10 in the UFC Light Heavyweight division.

Last Five Fights:

Second round TKO win over Michael Pratt at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009

Split decision loss to Keith Jardine at UFC 89 on Oct. 18, 2008

Unanimous decision win over Reese Andy at UFC Fight Night 14 on July 19, 2008

First round TKO loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 85 on June 7, 2008

Unanimous decision loss to Tim Sylvia at UFC 77 on Oct. 20, 2007

              

Krzysztof Soszynski (19-9-1 MMA Record):

Strengths: Soszynski is a big light heavyweight, who uses powerful strikes with good submission skills. Eight of his career wins are by submission, with three of his last four fights ending by kimura. Soszynski is getting better with each fight, and he is fighting frequently, with Saturday’s fight being his fourth since December.

Weaknesses: Soszynski hasn’t had a marquee UFC fight yet, and while Vera is not a top contender, he has fought some of the best. That experience is something could work against Soszynski in this fight. Also, I don’t see Soszynski getting a submission on Vera, who is well versed in submissions in his own right. Soszynski is going to have to rely on sheer power to win this one.

Last Five Fights:

First round KO win over Andre Gusmao at UFC 98 on May 23, 2009

First round submission win over Brian Stann at UFC 97 on April 18, 2009

Second round submission win over Shane Primm at Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale on Dec. 13, 2008

First round submission win over Marcus Hicks at UCW 11 on April 11, 2008

Second round DQ win over Alex Andrade at ROC 18 on March 7, 2008

 

Who will win: I think either fighter can pull this one out. Soszynski can win this fight with ground and pound or a lucky punch while Vera can use his quicker striking and leg kicks to pick apart his bigger opponent. I think this fight is bigger for Vera. A loss for Soszynski will not end his career, whereas a loss for Vera leaves nothing left for him in the octagon and could spell the end for him in the UFC. I see a motivated Vera scoring a TKO victory in round three.

Additional Line: Over/Under 7 minutes for fight length. Under (-150) Over (+110)

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Posted: 8/27/09 3:08PM ET

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