by Tom Hamliin – MMAWeekly.com
A light heavyweight match-up between Brandon Vera and Matt Hamill is in the works for UFC 101 on Aug. 8 in Philadelphia. A source close to the fight confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com, with MMAMadness first reporting its possibility.
While contracts have yet to be signed, the fighters have agreed to the bout and are expected to make it official in the coming days.
Vera and Hamill had impressive showings earlier this month at UFC 96, with both emerging victorious in their fights against Mike Patt and Mark Munoz, respectively.
The 31-year-old Vera picked up steam after disappointing showings against Reese Andy and Keith Jardine in his first two fights as a light heavyweight. The San Diego resident took a stumble with two consecutive losses to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum, prompting his jump to 205 pounds, but had been long considered a future contender since his entry into the UFC at Ultimate Fight Night 2 in 2005.
Lately, the 32-year-old Hamill has made a name as a striker. Originally labeled a wrestler upon his emergence in the UFC on the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the three-time NCAA champion has ended all but one of his six UFC victories with strikes, capped off by a blistering head kick knockout of Munoz. Save for a TKO loss to Rich Franklin and a controversial decision loss to Michael Bisping, Hamill has morphed into a dangerous mixed martial artist.
A lightweight title fight between reigning champion B.J. Penn and challenger Kenny Florian will headline the card.
Though a venue for UFC 101 has yet to be determined, the 20,000-seat Wachovia Center is under serious consideration to host. The event will be Pennsylvania’s first taste of sanctioned mixed martial arts following the passage of a bill to regulate the sport in the state legislature last month.