Couture vs. Vera

The main event of UFC 105 is a light heavyweight contest between two former heavyweights when Randy “The Natural” Couture faces off with Brandon “The Truth” Vera.

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Couture enters the fight as a slight favorite with a betting line of -120 with Vera given a line of -110 according to online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this main event bout, which will take place from the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England at 8PM ET on Spike TV.
Randy Couture (16-10):
Strengths
: Couture has done it all in the UFC, winning the heavyweight title on three occasions and the light heavyweight title on two occasions. Now, after having lost back-to-back fights at heavyweight, Couture is dropping down to light heavyweight where he hopes to again make a title run. Couture’s strengths are his wrestling and grappling ability along with his cardio. For being 46-years-old, Couture is in as good of shape as anyone in the UFC, which makes him more dangerous as the fight progresses. Couture will need to get Vera against the cage and on his back during this fight to be successful, and he has made no secrets that that is what he will be trying to do on Saturday.
Weaknesses: Couture has respectable boxing skills, but his speed and power is not up to par to most high-level fighters. Couture has been knocked out three times in his career, twice by Chuck Liddell and once by Brock Lesnar. In this fight, Vera might not have knockout power, but he should have the better striking skills to pose a problem for Couture if the fight stays standings. Couture will need to utilize good head movement and vary his punches and kicks to get inside Vera to make this a grappling fight.
Last Five Fights:
Unanimous decision loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 102 on Aug. 29, 2009

Second round TKO loss to Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 on Nov. 15, 2008

Third round TKO win over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74 on Aug. 25, 2007

Unanimous decision win over Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 on March 3, 2007

Second round KO loss to Chuck Liddell at UFC 57 on Feb. 4, 2006
 
Brandon Vera (11-3):
Strengths: Vera is a solid striker that has powerful kicks and a good straight jab. Vera has stopped fights with excessive leg kicks that render his opponents unable to stand. Vera likes to switch up stances as well, differing from being right-handed and southpaw at different times. Vera has only been stopped one time in his career, and that stoppage was questionable. Vera has a good chin and should be able to go the distance if the fight last all three rounds.
Weaknesses: Vera has struggled in fights where he has been the smaller fighter. Both of his losses at heavyweight came when his opponents could control him on the ground or against the cage. In this fight, Couture will be looking to get Vera to the ground and control him, as Couture should be the bigger and stronger fighter of the two. Vera has good strikes, but has not been able to knock out a fighter in the last three years. The key will be for Vera to have effective enough striking to keep Couture off balanced and not be able to get inside for the clinch.
Last Five Fights:
Unanimous decision win over Krzysztof Soszynski at UFC 10 on Aug. 29, 2009

Second round TKO win over Michael Patt 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
 
Who will win: This fight will come down to Vera’s ability to land powerful strikes. Couture showed in his last fight that his boxing is his weak point. But, if Couture gets Vera to the ground or in the clinch, the coy veteran should be able to control the fight and win a decision. I think Couture is starting to show signs of his career winding down at age 46, so Vera may be the choice in this one. Vera needs this fight to propel himself up the rankings and still be a legit contender in the division. I expect to see Vera come out motivated and earn a second round TKO win over the Hall of Famer, Couture.
Additional Line: Over/Under 12 minutes for fight length. Over (-115) Under (-125).
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Posted: 11/11/09 12:20PM ET

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