In a statement that’s become all too familiar lately, Brandon Vera said Saturday that he shouldn’t have let his close three-round contest against Randy Couture at UFC 105 in Manchester, England, go to the judges’ cards.
“I’m pissed, I’m really pissed, but the sport of MMA, she, MMA, is a b---h and if you let it go to the judges, you let it out of your hands, you know?” said Vera. “So, I’m going to take the blame for this loss. I’m going to man up.”
Vera, 32, commanded the striking portion of the bout, sending the UFC hall of famer into retreat in the second round after landing a series of body kicks that hurt Couture’s right ribcage. The 46-year-old Couture, dropping down to the 205-pound division for the second time in his 12-year career, utilized his Olympic-caliber Greco-Roman wrestling to stifle and smother Vera on the fence for extended periods of time.
All three judges scored the bout 29-28 in Couture’s favor.
Couture commended Vera for consistently countering some of the elder fighter’s trademark takedown attempts.
“I had to kind of shift gears,” said Couture. “(Vera) definitely got my attention in the second round. I was protecting my head and he kicked me square in the ribs… I think he moved my heart with that shot.”
Vera, who’d trained alongside Couture in the past at the Olympic wrestling training center and at the legend’s gym in Las Vegas, said he had to conquer mental obstacles in training to face one of his idols.
“I should have finished it. I had a couple of opportunities to during the fight that I should have finished it,” said Vera. “I’m super happy I got to fight Randy Couture, my hero, my legend, and let the rest of the light heavyweight division know that I’m going to whip you’re a-- if you get into the Octagon with me.”
After fielding the controversy that came following light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida’s unanimous decision victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 104 in October, promotional president Dana White echoed Vera’s sentiments.
“[Vera] said it best,” said White of the main event. “You want to know you won the fight? Finish the fight. Everybody just saw what happened with Shogun and Machida. Couture’s an aggressive guy, he stays in your face, he roughs you up against the cage. He steals rounds. He’s a professional; this guy’s been around for a long time, he knows how to fight. If you want to beat Randy Couture, finish him. I honestly said at the end of this fight that this fight could go either way.”
“I wouldn’t have been terribly disappointed had the decision gone the other way,” said Couture. “ I was very impressed with Brandon.”