Brandon Vera is scheduled to take on Keith Jardine at UFC 89 in Birmingham, England on Oct. 18. It will be his second appearance as a light heavyweight. He doesn't make predictions for his upcoming fights, but he does believe that somebody is getting knocked out.
He just doesn't know who.
"I believe in Karma and everybody who's said that they're going to knock (their opponent) out has ended up flat on their face lately," Vera told MMAWeekly.com.
He spent his last days of training at Team Lloyd Irvin in Camp Springs, Md., and made the trip to the U.K. earlier this week.
So far, Vera has adjusted well to his new weight class. His debut at light heavyweight was rough, a last minute fight against Reese Andy at UFC Fight Night 14 that failed to produce a finish. Vera says he cut 28 pounds in three weeks for the match. That was the reason, in his words, he "looked like (expletive)."
"Cutting that much weight and performing was the problem," he explained. "I didn't think it was gonna be, but I hadn't cut weight in nine years."
Vera has tapered down more gently this time, and has been watching a lot more film than usual in preparation for Jardine. He says Jardine's style necessitates a lot more studying.
"He's got great hands and a super awkward style," Vera said. "An unorthodox, offbeat style; that's a problem for almost every fighter. But it's just something we've been working on in the game plan. Just making sure I execute the game plan that's been set forth by my coaches."
With a variety of footage for him to study, Vera could take a multitude of approaches in fighting "The Dean of Mean." Some of them have been over in a flash, for better or worse, and others have been slow, methodical breakdowns of his opponents. Vera thinks Jardine is at his best when opponents are chasing him, and he doesn't plan on obliging that request.
"Stick to the game plan and don't fall into the trap of chasing him around," he said.
And if Jardine doesn't come forward?
"I guess we're just going to stand there and hang out, man," he continued. "I'm cool with that."
Vera will have one fight remaining on his UFC contract after this upcoming match so it would seem that his motivation to finish the fight will be strong. The UFC insists that fighters finish their fights and not leave it in the hands of the judges.
"If (the fans) wanted to watch a sparring match, they could just turn on boxing," Vera concurs. The question that remains now is how can he impose his will without drifting into Jardine's territory. According to him, that's part of the plan, and off limits.
The trap is thinking Jardine is a gatekeeper, a mistake many have made before.
"Nobody ever respected him or gave him the time of day until he started putting people to sleep," Vera said. "I'm glad I didn't do the same before I have to fight him. I just look at him as somebody that could knock me out. So I've got to be on my p's and q's."