Brandon Vera has today become the highest profile fighter to be cut from the UFC’s roster in 2011 so far after his defeat at UFC 125.
Spare a thought for Antonio McKee as well though who didn’t have enough time to make his mark in the promotion, being released after his debut in the prelims of the same event ended in a split decision loss.
For Vera today’s news brings an end to a five year spell in the UFC that promised much but often failed to deliver.
He entered the octagon for the first time as a heavyweight at UFC Fight Night 2 back in October of 2005 and made an immediate impression, producing two KO’s in a row followed by a submission victory over Assuerio Silva and TKO stoppage of Frank Mir.
With that four fight winning streak under his belt Vera looked to be one of the rising stars of the UFC, but he then suffered losses to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum, and never quite managed to regain his form thereafter.
Following a move down to 205lbs and going 1-1 in the remainder of that year Vera finally looked to be getting back on track with two wins in a row in 2009, and as a result was awarded a headline fight at UFC 105 with Randy Couture towards the end of the year.
Despite appearing to get the better of the hall-of-famer over three rounds Vera suffered a controversial unanimous decision loss though. He remained in the spotlight in early 2010, fronting the UFC On Versus 1 show opposite Jon Jones, but this time there was no doubt over who won, with Jones fracturing Vera’s face in three places during a brutal first round TKO beatdown.
The damage sustained during that fight kept him out of action for the rest of the year, and when he finally returned on New Years Day against Thiago Silva at UFC 125 he knew that he could ill-afford to lose a third fight in a row.
Unfortunately for him that’s exactly what happened, and he suffered a badly broken nose in the face to go with it.
It’s a disappointing end, leaving him 7-6 in his UFC career overall, though tellingly he had gone 3-6 in the past three years.
As for McKee, his UFC debut had finally come at the age of 40 after having produced a seven and a half year, 15 fight unbeaten run for a host of smaller promotions.
That allowed him to finally fulfill his dream of fighting in the UFC, but an extremely close split decision loss to Jacob Volkmann was all it took for his unbeaten run to be broken and his brief run in the big stage to be brought to a close.