Vera raring to get back in the Circle, sets sights on heavyweight challengers

Published December 21, 2020, 6:32 PM

by Carlo Anolin

brandon vera
Filipino-American Brandon Vera (Photo ONE Championship)

Filipino-American fighter Brandon Vera is raring to get back in the Circle after missing to see action this year.

Aside from the coronavirus pandemic, Vera focused on family time in Guam as he and wife Jessica Craven welcomed their son Atreyu Timothy last July.

That said, Vera has set his sight for a 2021 comeback in the hopes of defending his heavyweight title anew after more than a year of hiatus.

“I’m very much looking forward to all of the challenges and all of the challengers,” said Vera. “I’m looking to fight twice a year. There are enough people that I want to compete against throughout the year to motivate me to go twice.”

The names Arjan Bhullar of India and Amir Aliakbari of Iran, two renowned wrestlers who recently signed with ONE Championship, had surfaced for possible matchups against Vera.

Vera was supposed to fight Bhullar on May 29 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City for his third world title defense but the surging cases of COVID-19 globally prompted the promotion to postpone the bout.

“The highlight of the year for me was being in the hospital with my Nenja, and watching the moment my son was born,” added the 43-year-old Vera.

“The lowest point of the year for me was probably shared with many citizens of the world. Not being allowed to do this or that. It’s not something I am accustomed to. From travel to everyday shopping, to whom you can have in your house, I’m definitely ready for 2020 to be over.”

The Fil-Am heavyweight king tried his gears in the light heavyweight division but yielded to Myanmar’s Aung La N Sang via technical knockout in the second round last October 2019.

In December 2014, Vera stopped Igor Subora of Ukraine in the first round for a successful ONE Championship debut and came back the following year with a knockout win against Taiwanese Paul Cheng to take the heavyweight belt.

“The Truth” defeated Japanese grappler Hideki Sekine with a TKO win in December 2016 and had another knockout victory against Italian striker Mauro Cerilli.