Professional athletes are not normally still competing at 46-years-old. At that age, they are most likely retired, and enjoying their twilight years and the success they have achieved. For instance, former NFL and MLB star Bo Jackson is 46. He is now involved in banking. Former NBA star Charles Barkley is 46, and he is involved in politics, and plays a lot of golf.
UFC fighter Randy Couture (17-10) is still fighting and winning against top tier competition. It does not make sense. It defies logic. He is “natural,” but he is damn sure not normal.
Saturday night in Manchester, England, the middle-aged grandfather (he’s not really a grandfather but he’s old enough to be) strolled into M.E.N. Arena with a beautiful woman on his arm (younger and hotter than your woman), and proceeded to show all the men at M.E.N. who is still the f*cking MAN.
Couture’s opponent for the night was 32-year-old Brandon Vera (11-4). His nickname is “The Truth.” And he learned a hard truth tonight. I’m not sure exactly what that truth was, but it has something to do with old men can still kick your ass even if you are young, strong, fast, and have esoteric symbols tattooed on your back.
For some odd reason, Vera decided he would play the clinch game with Couture, which is probably the worst possible game plan one could have used. The clinch game, dirty boxing, and that Greco-Roman style of grappling is Couture’s bread and butter.
And he did to Vera the same thing he’s done to most people who try to play that game with him, he imposed his will.
In Vera’s defense, he probably did not initially want to get into the clinch game with Couture, but most likely got sucked into it. That is what Couture does. He ties you up and makes the fight go at the pace he wants it to go.
Vera’s best moments came when he could create some distance between himself and “The Natural” and strike. He landed some punches and some great kicks. In round two Vera landed a hard body kick that crumpled Couture to the canvas. Vera tried to capitalize but could not get the finish.
Couture used his strength, clinch, wrestling, and boxing to maintain control, and in the end the judges awarded him the unanimous decision victory.
This first fight back in the light heavyweight division for Couture moves him up the ladder at 205 and puts him one step closer toward a shot at title-holder Lyoto Machida. Is it really possible that Randy Couture could actually regain the UFC light heavyweight title for a record third time? Yes, it is.
As far as where Brandon Vera goes from here… losing to Randy Couture is nothing to hang your head about. The fact the UFC thought enough of Vera to even put him in the Octagon with Couture in the first place, says a lot.
However, that is probably not much consolation for 32-year-old Vera who just lost to a man who did not even start fighting until he was 33.
By: Jack Bratcher