Brandon Vera

Brandon Michael Vera (born October 10, 1977), or also known by his stage name as The Truth, is a Filipino-American mixed martial artist currently signed with ONE Championship, where he is a former and first-ever ONE Heavyweight Champion. A professional competitor since 2002, he has formerly competed for the UFC and the WEC. Vera is the 2005 WEC Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion.

Brandon Vera
Brandon Vera v. Mauro Cerilli Conquest of Champions (cropped).jpg
Vera in 2018
BornBrandon Michael Vera
(1977-10-10) October 10, 1977 (age 43)
Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Other namesThe Truth
ResidenceManila, Philippines
NationalityAmerican (jus solis)
Filipino (jus sanguinis)[1]
Height191 cm (6 ft 3 in)[2]
Weight111.9 kg (247 lb; 17.62 st)[2]
DivisionLight Heavyweight (2008–2012, 2019)
Heavyweight (2002–2008, 2013–2018, 2020–present)
Reach78 in (200 cm)
StyleWrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting out ofQuezon City, Philippines
TeamSanford MMA
Alliance MMA
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Lloyd Irvin[3]
WrestlingNCAA Division I Wrestling
Greco-Roman Wrestling[4]
Years active2002–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout11
By submission1
By decision4
By knockout6
By decision3
No contests1
Other information
UniversityOld Dominion University
(m. 2006; div. 2016)

Jessica Craven
(m. 2018)
Notable school(s)Lake Taylor High School
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Air Force
Years of service1997–1999


Brandon Vera grew up in a house of seven boys and three girls. He was born to a Filipino father, Ernesto, and an Italian mother, but raised by his Filipino stepmother, Amelia. He also has two other brothers and another sister outside of the family in which he was raised and they were occasionally involved in his life. Vera was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia,[5] and attended Lake Taylor High School where he excelled in wrestling and earned a four-year athletic scholarship to Old Dominion University. However, he dropped out of Old Dominion after a year and a half when he felt college was not for him, and enlisted himself in the United States Air Force. In the Air Force, Vera joined the wrestling team and trained at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His military wrestling career was cut short in 1999 when he tore ligaments in his right elbow. Arthroscopic surgery repaired the ligaments, but he had nerve damage from the experience, causing him to be unable to use his right arm. He was released from the Air Force on a medical discharge.

Vera returned to Virginia where he steadily rehabilitated his arm, and eventually was fit enough to enter the Grapplers Quest submission wrestling competitions on the East Coast. There, his solitary training methods (he did not belong to a camp and trained and cut weight on his own) caught the attention of Lloyd Irvin, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu Black Belt and coach, who invited him to train with his school. At Irvin's school, he was introduced to mixed martial arts.[5]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Vera's first professional mixed martial arts bout was on July 6, 2002, while training under Lloyd Irvin. He won the fight against Adam Rivera via TKO in the first round. He fought and won another bout in 2004 before entering the WEC 13 Heavyweight Tournament in 2005, where he won two bouts in one night, including a bout against The Ultimate Fighter 2's Mike Whitehead in the final.[6]

Vera then moved to San Diego, California, on December 31, 2003, to accept a training position with City Boxing. At City Boxing, Vera excelled as a trainer and was taken under the wing of owner Mark Dion, who became his manager and introduced him to kickboxing great Rob Kaman. With Vera's success as a trainer and a mixed martial arts fighter, Dion gave Vera partial ownership of City Boxing.[5]

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit

Vera in 2007.

Vera made his UFC debut at Ultimate Fight Night 2 on October 3, 2005, against BJJ black belt Fabiano Scherner. Vera won the fight via KO due to knees from the clinch midway through the second round. Following the Scherner bout, he faced Justin Eilers at UFC 57, winning early in the first round by KO. At UFC 60, Vera defeated Assuerio Silva with a guillotine choke in the first round. On November 18, he stopped former heavyweight champion Frank Mir by TKO due to strikes in just 69 seconds at UFC 65 in Sacramento, California.

White had been telling the media prior to UFC 65 that the winner of the Vera-Mir fight would face the winner of the Tim Sylvia-Jeff Monson bout, which was also being held that same night, for the championship. Vera's victory secured him a championship bout against then title-holder Tim Sylvia, but a contract dispute with the UFC forced him to be replaced by Randy Couture.

In August, the UFC announced the "return" of Vera. His first fight was at UFC 77 against Sylvia, who had recently lost the UFC Heavyweight Championship to Couture.[7] Vera lost for the first time via unanimous decision. He also broke his left hand at 4:40 of the first round.

Vera had his second loss at UFC 85 against Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Fabrício Werdum via TKO. The fight was controversially stopped by referee Dan Miragliotta as Werdum mounted him and landed some ground and pound. After the stoppage, Vera was upset as he felt he was defending himself effectively.[8][9]

After his two recent losses, Vera dropped down to the Light Heavyweight division, facing IFL alum Reese Andy at UFC Fight Night 14 on July 19, 2008, on Spike TV. Vera defeated Andy via unanimous decision.

At UFC 89, Vera lost to Keith Jardine via a narrow split decision. Following the fight, Vera incurred criticism for his performance since his return to the UFC having been victorious in only one of his last four fights.

A more focused Vera appeared on the preliminary card of UFC 96. It was the first time Vera was not on the main card since he made his debut in the UFC. He had an impressive performance against Mike Patt, showing a more aggressive and intense striking approach and stopping him via TKO (leg kicks) in the second round.

Vera fought Polish fighter Krzysztof Soszynski at UFC 102 after his original opponent, Matt Hamill, was forced to drop out due after suffering a meniscus tear while training.[10] Vera won via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 30–27).

Vera lost a close fight to Randy Couture via unanimous decision on November 14, 2009 at UFC 105, with the media comparing the decision to a previous UFC event (UFC 104 Machida-Rua) which prompted that MMA judging should be changed. Despite Vera significantly outstriking Couture and successfully defending numerous takedown attempts, judges awarded the victory to Couture. The verdict surprised many people; UFC commentator Joe Rogan was highly critical of the decision during the live event broadcast and in a post-fight interview, Randy Couture admitted that he didn't expect the decision to be made in his favor.[11][12]

Vera faced Jon Jones on March 21, 2010, at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones and lost via TKO in the first round after an elbow from Jones broke Vera's face in three places.

Vera was defeated by Brazilian Thiago Silva via unanimous decision (30–26, 30–27, and 30–27) on January 1, 2011 at UFC 125. At the end of the third round, Vera stood up to reveal a badly broken nose.[13][14] Vera was released by the UFC with a 7–6 record in the organization.[15] However following the fight it was revealed that his opponent Thiago Silva had failed the post-fight drug test.[16] As a result of this, Vera was re-hired by the UFC and the result of the Silva fight was changed to a no contest, resulting in Vera's UFC record changing to 7–5–0–1.[17]

Vera defeated Eliot Marshall on October 29, 2011 at UFC 137 via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, and 29–28).[18]

Vera was briefly linked to a rematch Thiago Silva on May 15, 2012 at UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier.[19] However, Vera was forced out the bout with an injury.[20]

Vera was expected to face Australian James Te-Huna on July 11, 2012 at UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz vs. Weidman.[21] However, Vera was pulled from the bout with Te-Huna to face Maurício Rua on August 4, 2012 at UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera.[21] Vera was defeated via TKO late in the fourth round. Vera showed great heart after being rocked early in the second round, but as both fighters showed early signs of fatigue in the late stages of the second round, Vera ultimately succumbed to Rua's power. This fight is widely considered the best performance of Vera's career, despite the loss.

Vera returned to the Heavyweight division after an absence of 5 years and faced Ben Rothwell at UFC 164 on August 31, 2013.[22] After a competitive first and second round, Rothwell defeated Vera by TKO in the third round. Subsequent to the bout, Rothwell tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. The UFC suspended Rothwell for nine months, despite the Wisconsin commission only issuing him with an administrative warning.[23]

Vera was released from the UFC on June 17, 2014, ending his eight-year run with the promotion.[24]

ONE ChampionshipEdit

Vera (left) and Mauro Cerilli (right) in the "Conquest of Champions".

On July 13, 2014, it was confirmed that Vera had signed with Singapore-based promotion ONE FC.[25] His debut was on December 5, 2014 against Igor Subora at ONE Fighting Championship: Warrior's Way.[26] Vera won the fight via knockout after landing a counter straight left at 3:54 minutes in the first round.[27]

On December 11, 2015, Vera faced Paul Cheng in the main event at ONE Championship: Spirit of Champions. He won the fight via knockout just 26 second into the first round to win the ONE Heavyweight Championship.

After nearly a year away from the cage, Vera returned to face Hideki Sekine at ONE Championship: Age of Domination on December 2, 2016. He successfully defended his heavyweight title, winning by TKO in the first round.

Vera successfully defended his title via knockout in the first round against Cage Warriors Heavyweight Champion, Mauro Cerilli who was on his promotional debut at ONE Championship: Conquest of Champions on November 23, 2018.[28][29][30][31]

As the first fight of his new ten-bout contract with ONE, Vera challenged Aung La Nsang for the ONE Light Heavyweight Championship at ONE Championship: Century on October 13, 2019.[32][33] Vera lost by TKO in the second round.[34]

At ONE Championship: Fire & Fury on January 31, 2020, Vera announced that he would be defending his ONE Heavyweight Championship on May 29 in Manila, with an opponent yet to be announced.[35] It was later announced that he would be defending his ONE Heavyweight title against Arjan Bhullar at ONE Infinity 2.[36] Their fight was later postponed as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sports.

Vera faced Bhullar at ONE Championship: Dangal on May 15, 2021.[37] Vera lost to Bhullar by second-round technical knockout, ending his five-year reign as ONE Heavyweight World Champion.[38]

Personal lifeEdit

Vera's former wife, Kerry, is also a mixed martial artist who formerly fought for the now-defunct Strikeforce. She was featured on the second season of Oxygen's Fight Girls.[39] In September 2014, Kerry filed for divorce.[40][41]

Vera started dating Jessica Craven and announced their engagement in April 2017.[42] They wed on April 20, 2018 in Guam.[43]

Vera has a tattoo on his back, inked in the Filipino writing system called Baybayin. Clockwise, it reads mundo (earth), hangin (wind), apoy (fire) and tubig (water).[44]

While staying in the Philippines, he trained Filipino actor, Richard Gutierrez, in martial arts and has been given a role as an assassin for Philippine primetime television show, Kamandag on the GMA Network.[45]

In the latter part of his training for UFC 89, Vera was reportedly held at gun point by two men attempting to rob the house in which he was staying. Vera stated that the incident did not affect his performance against Keith Jardine.[46]

In 2016, Vera revealed that he was relocating to the Philippines full time, to help grow the sport of mixed martial arts in his ancestral homeland.[47] He has been working on opening a branch of Alliance MMA. Vera holds dual citizenship: American (by jus solis) and Filipino (by jus sanguinis).




  • Grappler's Quest
    • 8 Time Grappler's Quest Champion

Mixed martial artsEdit

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
26 matches 16 wins 9 losses
By knockout 11 6
By submission 1 0
By decision 4 3
No contests 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 16–9–1 Arjan Bhullar TKO (punches) ONE Championship: Dangal April 28, 2021 2 4:27 Kallang, Singapore Lost the ONE Heavyweight Championship.
Loss 16–8–1 Aung La Nsang TKO (punches) ONE Championship: Century Part 2 October 13, 2019 2 3:23 Tokyo, Japan For the ONE Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 16–7–1 Mauro Cerilli KO (punch) ONE Championship: Conquest of Champions November 23, 2018 1 1:04 Pasay, Philippines Defended the ONE Heavyweight Championship.
Win 15–7–1 Hideki Sekine TKO (body kick and punches) ONE Championship: Age of Domination December 2, 2016 1 3:11 Pasay, Philippines Defended the ONE Heavyweight Championship.
Win 14–7–1 Paul Cheng KO (punch and head kick) ONE Championship: Spirit of Champions December 11, 2015 1 0:26 Pasay, Philippines Won the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Championship.
Win 13–7–1 Igor Subora TKO (punch and soccer kicks) ONE Fighting Championship: Warrior's Way December 5, 2014 1 3:54 Pasay, Philippines
Loss 12–7–1 Ben Rothwell TKO (punches and knees) UFC 164 August 31, 2013 3 1:54 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States Heavyweight return. Rothwell tested positive for high testosterone.
Loss 12–6–1 Maurício Rua TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera August 4, 2012 4 4:03 Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 12–5–1 Eliot Marshall Decision (unanimous) UFC 137 October 29, 2011 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
NC 11–5–1 Thiago Silva NC (overturned) UFC 125 January 1, 2011 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Originally unanimous decision loss; result overturned after Silva falsified his urine sample.
Loss 11–5 Jon Jones TKO (elbows and punches) UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones March 21, 2010 1 3:19 Broomfield, Colorado, United States
Loss 11–4 Randy Couture Decision (unanimous) UFC 105 November 14, 2009 3 5:00 Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Win 11–3 Krzysztof Soszynski Decision (unanimous) UFC 102 August 29, 2009 3 5:00 Portland, Oregon, United States
Win 10–3 Michael Patt TKO (leg kicks) UFC 96 March 7, 2009 2 1:27 Columbus, Ohio, United States
Loss 9–3 Keith Jardine Decision (split) UFC 89 October 18, 2008 3 5:00 Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Win 9–2 Reese Andy Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin July 19, 2008 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Light Heavyweight debut.
Loss 8–2 Fabrício Werdum TKO (punches) UFC 85 June 7, 2008 1 4:40 London, England, United Kingdom
Loss 8–1 Tim Sylvia Decision (unanimous) UFC 77 October 20, 2007 3 5:00 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Win 8–0 Frank Mir TKO (knees and punches) UFC 65 November 18, 2006 1 1:09 Sacramento, California, United States
Win 7–0 Assuerio Silva Submission (guillotine choke) UFC 60 May 27, 2006 1 2:39 Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 6–0 Justin Eilers KO (head kick and knee) UFC 57 February 4, 2006 1 1:25 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 5–0 Fabiano Scherner TKO (knees and punches) UFC Fight Night 2 October 3, 2005 2 3:22 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 4–0 Mike Whitehead TKO (doctor stoppage) WEC 13 January 22, 2005 2 1:12 Lemoore, California, United States Won the 2005 WEC Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship.
Win 3–0 Andre Mussi KO (knees and punches) WEC 13 January 22, 2005 1 0:51 Lemoore, California, United States 2005 WEC Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinal.
Win 2–0 Don Richards Decision (unanimous) Next Level Fighting 1 September 13, 2003 2 5:00 Steubenville, Ohio, United States
Win 1–0 Adam Rivera TKO (punches) Excalibur Fighting 11 July 6, 2002 1 3:20 Richmond, Virginia, United States

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ ONE FC
  2. ^ a b "Brandon Vera ONE Championship". Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "UFC 164 fight card: Brandon Vera vs Ben Rothwell fight preview". SB Nation. August 27, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  4. ^ "UFC 164 Factgrinder: Why Brandon Vera Was Not Really an Olympic Candidate". Bloody Elbow. September 2, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Don't Fight Mad". San Diego Reader. February 8, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  6. ^ "WEC: Heavyweight Explosion". January 3, 2005. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  7. ^ "The Official Website of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC)". Archived from the original on August 24, 2007.
  8. ^ Vera loses to Werdum. ABS-CBN Interactive. June 8, 2008
  9. ^, 411's UFC 85: Bedlam Report Archived June 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. June 7, 2008.
  10. ^ "Soszynski Replaces Hamill At UFC 102". July 27, 2009.
  11. ^ "UFC 105 Brandon Vera Randy Couture by decision". Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  12. ^ "UFC 105 Roundtable". November 16, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  13. ^ "UFC 125: Brandon Vera's Broken Nose". Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  14. ^ "UFC 125 Medical Suspensions: Brandon Vera Suffers Nasal Fracture". Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  15. ^ "Brandon Vera Released by the UFC". Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  16. ^ Brandon Vera poised for a UFC return with a dark cloud still hovering over Thiago Silva. February 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "Brandon Vera Not Cut by the UFC". February 22, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  18. ^ "UFC 137: Brandon Vera vs Eliot Marshall booked for Oct. 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada". July 16, 2011.
  19. ^ "Thiago Silva vs. Brandon Vera rematch set for May 15 in Virginia". February 2, 2012. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012.
  20. ^ "Brandon Vera injured, out of UFC on Fuel TV 3 rematch with Thiago Silva". February 4, 2012. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012.
  21. ^ a b "Brandon Vera Returns to Action Against James Te Huna at UFC on FUEL 4". April 13, 2012.
  22. ^ Marrocco, Steven (May 14, 2013). "Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera heavyweight bout targeted for UFC 164 in Milwaukee". Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  23. ^ Marrocco, Steven (October 3, 2013). "UFC trumps Wisconsin, suspends Ben Rothwell for elevated testosterone". Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  24. ^ Chiappetta, Mike (June 17, 2014). "Brandon Vera, UFC part ways after 8-year run". Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  25. ^ Tabuena, Anton (July 13, 2014). "UFC veteran Brandon Vera signs with ONE FC". Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  26. ^ "Brandon "The Truth" Vera to fight in Manila on December 5". ASTIG.PH. ASTIG.PH. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  27. ^ "Bibiano Fernandes submits Dae Hwan Kim and retains ONE FC title". ASTIG.PH.
  28. ^ Tudor Leonte (October 23, 2018). "Report: Brandon Vera Set to Face Mauro Cerilli for One Championship Heavyweight Title".
  29. ^ Guilherme Cruz (October 25, 2018). "Brandon Vera returns from two-year layoff, defends ONE title against Cage Warriors champ Mauro Cerilli".
  30. ^ "MMA: Brandon Vera KO win caps victorious night for Pinoy fighters".
  31. ^ "Brandon Vera Retains Heavyweight Title At One: Conquest of Champions". Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  32. ^ Alexander K. Lee (June 30, 2019). "Angela Lee, Aung La Nsang, Bibiano Fernandes title fights announced for ONE Championship's 100th show".
  33. ^ Alexander K. Lee (October 10, 2019). "After 'ONE Championship: Century' title bout, Brandon Vera plans to collect belts 'from all over the world'".
  34. ^ "Aung La N Sang Imperious With Magnificent KO Of Brandon Vera". Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  35. ^ "Brandon Vera's Next ONE Heavyweight World Title Defense Confirmed". ONE Championship - The Home Of Martial Arts. February 1, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  36. ^ "Brandon Vera to defend heavyweight title against Arjan Bhullar at ONE 'Infinity 2'". Asian MMA. February 1, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  37. ^ Lee, Alexander K. (April 30, 2021). "Brandon Vera to defend ONE heavyweight title against Arjan Bhullar on May 15". MMA Fighting. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  38. ^ News, Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN (May 15, 2021). "MMA: Bhullar stops Vera, crowns self as new ONE heavyweight king". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  39. ^ "The Cast of Fight Girls". Oxygen Pressroom. Oxygen. Archived from the original on July 16, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  40. ^ Sacamos, Karlo (December 9, 2014). "Brandon Vera admits going through divorce: 'I found out I was getting divorced and it kind of sucked'".
  41. ^ Olivarez, Rick. "The controlled fury of Brandon Vera".
  42. ^ "Back to the grind for Brandon Vera after getting engaged". Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  43. ^ "Brandon Vera marries GF Jessica Craven today and starts biggest year yet".
  44. ^ Brandon Vera's Baybayin tattoos : – Filipino Tattoo Source. (October 13, 2007). Retrieved on January 3, 2014.
  45. ^ "UFC warrior is now an actor in Kamandag". GMA Network Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  46. ^ Sariahmed, Lutfi. (October 23, 2008) Vera Held at Gunpoint. Retrieved on January 3, 2014.
  47. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "MMA champion Brandon Vera moving to PH". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved December 3, 2018.

External linksEdit