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Brandon Vera back in UFC spotlight

Mixed martial arts: 'The Truth' stops by Burbank ahead of his UFC on FOX 4 main event against 'Shogun.'

June 19, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

Characterized by big fights, brimming potential, lost opportunity, controversial decision losses and highlight-reel finishes, the roller coaster ride that has been Brandon "The Truth" Vera's Ultimate Fighting Championship career has been one that's seen myriad "trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, peaks and valleys," by his own accord.

But on Tuesday, the UFC light-heavyweight was smack-dab in the middle of the whirlwind that will lead him into what he calls the biggest fight of his career, when Vera faces off with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in the main event of UFC on FOX 4 at the Staples Center on Aug. 4.

"I think this fight with Shogun is probably the ... single most important fight in my career," said Vera, whose career includes bouts against current and former UFC champions Jon Jones, Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia and Frank Mir. "I call it my Golden Ticket.

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"This one fight can fix all my past indiscretions."

On Tuesday, Vera sat down at Morton's The Steakhouse in Burbank for a media luncheon, accompanied by his wife, Kerry, who is also a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter, and UFC Director of Communications Dave Sholler. Right after that, he was next door for a FOX Sports Radio interview on the Loose Cannons Radio Show.

Originally scheduled to fight James Te Huna on a UFC on Fuel TV card, Vera (12-5) was the right fighter in the right place to fill in for an injured Thiago Silva in a main event slot against Rua (20-6), a former UFC light-heavyweight champion.

"It's like karma," Vera, 34, said. "Everything happens for a reason."

With the ascent to main-event status comes days like Tuesday, in which Vera had plenty of media appearances and was off to Anaheim for the San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game to make an appearance in the evening. But for Vera, who has headlined cards against Couture, a UFC Hall of Famer, and Jones, the current UFC light-heavyweight titlist, it's nothing he can't handle.

"It's kind of a necessary evil," said Vera of all the added media and appearances. "I get to fight Shogun, that's my highlight. It's like a dream come true."

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