You hear it all the time: "anything can happen in MMA". Or was it that "anything can happen in the WWF"? Or was it that "sometimes these things happen in MMA"? Regardless, I recall Pat Miletich, among others, sighting the multiplicity of ways to lose that made amassing recors like those held by top tier pro boxers extremely difficult in the sport. Unless, you're Fedor, anyway."
So you'd think that there must be at least some way in which Brandon Vera can beat Shogun Rua on August 4th. Maybe a puncher's chance? Maybe he could clinch or lay on Rua for a 29-28 decision? Catch him in a submission? Something?
Well, this is one of the rare times where, thinking about the fight, I just don't see a single path for victory for Vera. None. Zero. Zilch.
On paper, Vera should be the better wrestler, but Vera hasn't shown that wrestling in years, if ever. Just a couple of fights ago, we even saw him get soundly outwrestled and taken down with ease by BJJ black belt and muay thai specialist Thiago Silva. You'd think Silva had the wrestling background in that fight, and not Vera. Moreover, Vera's background is as a Greco-Roman - he'd be looking for the clinch against Rua (a dangerous proposition in and of itself) instead of shooting in, which he's never shown a penchant for doing anyway.
But what if he catches Rua with a lucky punch? Well, not counting his leg kick win over Mike Patt, a quick look shows that Vera hasn't stopped anyone with strikes since upsetting Frank Mir in 2006. And now he's supposed to knock out Rua, a guy who ate around twenty H-Bombs and kept on coming? Worse still, striking seems to be Vera's strongest facet these days, but he's never fought a striker of Rua's caliber, ever. The closest he came was Thiago Silva, and while his stand-up looked good there, he also got mauled. Moreover, even though it's been a few years, it's hard to forget Vera's losing a largely stand-up fight to Keith Jardine and going the distance with Soszynski, a guy that Stephan Bonnar of all people would put away just a couple fights later.
As far as catching Rua in a submission, that's even more unlikely. Rua, a long-time BJJ black belt and Vera, a guy with one submission win....again way back in 2006.
Breaking down the fight, I just don't see a single way in which Brandon Vera can win this fight. Rua has fought, and beaten, fighters vastly superior to Vera in every aspect of the game whereas Rua may be the stiffest test of Vera's career not named Jon Jones. Vera hasn't garnered a submission or, barring the win over Mike Patt, a knockout in six years, and is now facing a crazy durable light heavyweight in Shogun. And wrestling-wise, well, that aspect of Vera's game may as well have never existed at this point.
So....any ideas on how Brandon Vera can win this fight? Because barring Shogun rolling over of a freak heart attack in the cage, I'm stumped.