Brandon Vera (11-5) vs. Thiago Silva (14-2)
In a light heavyweight match-up that has the potential of rekindling the Las Vegas fireworks display on New Year’s Eve the night before UFC 125 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena on New Year’s Day, Brandon Vera faces Thiago Silva.
Vera entered the UFC making bold predictions that he would hold titles at heavyweight and light heavyweight. His predictions have yet to come to fruition, and he hasn’t lived up to the hype or expectations.
Coming off the first one-sided loss in his career, to Jon Jones, Vera says he’s humbled, refocused, and ready to live up to his past promises and fan expectations.
Stylistically, this should be a good match-up for Vera. Silva’s best assets are his aggressiveness and his jiu-jitsu.
Vera has good technical striking and a solid wrestling base. If Randy Couture couldn’t take Vera down, it’s unlikely that Thiago Silva will, thus nullifying jiu-jitsu from the equation.
On the feet, Silva is aggressive, always moving forward, but Vera will likely be able to dictate the distance with his threat for a takedown and speed advantage.
Look for Vera to use superior footwork to create angles to land quick combinations accompanied by kicks low and high.
I believe speed, takedown defense, and technical striking should result in Vera winning by TKO.
The odds makers have Silva coming in as a -160 favorite and Vera as a +130 underdog. I couldn’t disagree with these odds more. Vera has all the tools to dismantle Silva in most facets of the game: striking, wrestling, and in the clinch position. I don’t think this fight goes to a decision.