If there was ever such a thing as a moral victory in an MMA fight, Brandon Vera achieved just that. He battled former UFC champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua through four rounds and showed flashes of the old Vera that became one of the top prospects in the UFC.
In the end, however, it was not enough, as Vera dropped to the canvas after another offensive barrage from "Shogun."
Vera had found himself in the rare position to earn a title shot with a questionable record and will likely find himself back in the middle of the pack in the 205-pound division.
Joey Beltran made a return to the Octagon at a new weight class. Although Beltran lost the bout, he displayed his trademark heart and chin as he withstood an insane amount of punishment.
It was Beltran's third loss in his last four fights, but he's always been a competitor that the UFC brass has been fond of. He will likely earn at least another trip to the Octagon and a showdown with Brandon Vera makes perfect sense.
Both men are in need of a win to sustain their UFC careers and have proven to be entertaining fighters at the least. A bout between Beltran and Vera would likely turn into a slug fest that could turn sloppy but would get the crowd on its feet.
Although I believe Ryan Bader deserves a higher-ranked opponent than Brandon Vera in his next outing, it would make sense for the two men to be matched together.
Both competitors competed on the same night and came out on the losing end in their title eliminators. The fight could also serve to show if either man has improved on their weaknesses.
Bader has shown some striking deficiencies that failed him in his fights with Tito Ortiz and Lyoto Machida. For Vera, it's clear his takedown defense still needs work if he is to climb the light heavyweight rankings.
It would be a practical matchup, as both men competed on the same night and should be ready to compete in around the same time frame.
Brandon Vera was originally scheduled to welcome Thiago Silva back from his lengthy suspension, but that bout fell through. It was against Silva that Vera endured perhaps his most embarrassing defeat, as Silva controlled much of the fight.
The Brazilian even managed to play a few musical notes while in the midst of disfiguring Vera's nose.
A fight with Silva gives Vera another bout with a high-profile opponent that could be featured on yet another free TV show. Fighting Silva should also give Vera all the motivation he needs while in training.
It'd also be interesting to see how Silva would fight after switching from American Top Team to "The Blackzilians."