In his first fight outside the USA in nearly nine years, legendary five-time UFC champion Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture will headline UFC 105 at the MEN Arena, Manchester, in a fascinating* light heavyweight collision with Brandon ‘The Truth’ Vera on November 14. Tickets go on general public release this morning (Monday September 14) and are available via ticketmaster.co.uk and the MEN Arena box office from 10AM. Both Michael Bisping and Dan Hardy will be signing autographs at the MEN Arena box office from 5:30pm on this evening.
The most successful division-jumper in the history of mixed martial arts, Couture, 16-10** in MMA, has already reigned twice as light heavyweight champion of the world in addition to his three triumphs in the heavyweight category. Now the Hall of Famer will storm into Manchester to renew his quest for an unprecedented sixth world championship.
“I would love to be a six-time UFC champion, to set the bar very high in that regard, and that’s what I want to accomplish at 205lbs,” said the Natural. “That is my immediate goal. I am very intrigued by the current light heavyweight division, there are some great matchups for me here, and I believe I have to tools to win back the 205lbs title.”***
In his first bout in the light heavyweight class since the climax of his iconic trilogy with Chuck Liddell in February 2006****, Couture meets the formidable challenge of Brandon ‘The Truth’ Vera.
Couture said: “Brandon Vera is the first of these challenges at 205lbs. It would have been very nice to be the big guy in the Octagon(TM) for the first time in years but, having trained with Brandon and competed against him in wrestling many years ago, I know that he is as big and as powerful as I am.
“He’s looked very sharp, very dangerous, in his last few fights. His stand up is very good, he is very fast and accurate with his kicks and he can hurt you to the legs with those weapons. He also proved he has the power to hurt big heavyweights, and that he can be patient and take advantage if you make a mistake. He is known for his stand-up in the UFC, but I know from experience that his wrestling is outstanding. He represents some interesting tactical problems, but I feel physically as good as ever and am ready to throw my name into the 205lbs title picture with a great performance.”
Fighting out of San Diego, California, Filipino-American Vera, 11-3 in his mixed martial arts career, is in the form of his life. Fighting just two weeks ago on the same card where Couture waged his instant classic war with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira*****, Vera snapped the six-fight winning streak of the highly-rated Krzysztof Soszynski. Before that, Vera had dismantled Michael Patt with some of the most vicious leg-strikes seen in the Octagon.******
Now Vera says he is ready to take on a living legend and continue his ascent towards the light heavyweight title. He said: "It will be an honour and a privilege to fight a living legend like Randy Couture. He has been someone that I have looked up to and I can’t wait to get in there in November. Even after my first UFC win back in 2005, I was begging the UFC to put me in with a legend like a Chuck Liddell or a Randy Couture. I always knew those are the sorts of guys who would bring the best out of me and, finally, I have my chance to prove myself against a true legend in the sport.”
Already announced for UFC 105 is a fascinating******* middleweight (185lbs) showdown between British hero Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping and Denis Kang, as well as a welterweight (170lbs) battle between Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy and Dong-Hyun Kim. Further exciting bouts for UFC 105 will be announced shortly.
UFC UK Division President Marshall Zelaznik added: “Once again, the UFC has delivered for the British fans. We’ve been blown away by the interest in this card and, with the addition of a legendary fighter like Couture in such an interesting and potentially explosive fight with Vera, we are confident this will be the hottest ticket this winter. Randy hasn’t fought outside the United States since February 2001, but he wanted to fight in England after the Manchester fans gave him such a warm reception at UFC 70 back in 2007. If they went crazy for him just being Octagonside, I can’t wait to hear how they react when he walks into the arena meaning business.”
UFC 105 will be screened LIVE on ESPN in the UK and Ireland. Catch the terrestrial network debut of UFC: Main Event tonight at midnight on channel FIVE, featuring the recent Couture v Nogueria fight of the year candidate.
* "Fascinating." Really? There has to be a more appropriate description for this bout. Unexpected? Convenient? Absolutely unworthy of main event status?
** Has there ever been a bigger disparity between a fighter’s accomplishments and his record? Will Anderson Silva have to lose nine fights at light-heavyweight before he’s considered the most successful division jumper in MMA history?
*** Sorry, man, Tito Ortiz has already called dibs on that title.
**** Which he lost.
***** Which he lost.
****** Patt, it should be said, had some of the most woefully-inept leg-strike defense ever seen in the Octagon.
******* You keep using that word, UFC.com writer. I do not think it means what you think it means.