UFC 164: What We Learned from Brandon Vera vs. Ben Rothwell

Hunter Homistek@HunterAHomistekCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2013

Apr 21, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Ben Rothwell reacts to beating Brendan Schaub in a heavyweight bout during UFC 145 at Philips Arena. Rothwell won the bout by technical knockout in the first round. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Rothwell is a savage, ladies and gentlemen. 

After chasing Brandon Vera for the majority of Rounds 1 and 2, Rothwell channeled his inner Anderson Silva and made the Octagon canvas his personal dance floor of destruction in Round 3. 

Fueled by the energy of his hometown crowd in Milwaukee Saturday, Rothwell clipped Vera with a series of hard punches that forced referee Herb Dean to intervene, securing an explosive finish to an overall solid bout. 


What We'll Remember about This Fight

The finish is obviously what we will remember about this fight. Rothwell ate some hard body shots early, but he hung in and upped the intensity late in the fight, demolishing Vera in the process. 

After a quick lesson in the intricacies of the two-step, Rothwell put his hands all over Vera's chin and earned the impressive TKO stoppage. 


What We Learned about Brandon Vera

Vera is just not an elite fighter anymore. I'm not sure that he ever was, to be honest. 

After a thoroughly unimpressive stint at light heavyweight, Vera returned to heavyweight in hopes of enjoying a speed and technicality advantage, but it was Rothwell who seemed more energetic and motivated in this one. 

Vera looked solid in Round 1 but, as is normal for him, faded in the later rounds, eventually succumbing to Rothwell's power and volume. 


What We Learned about Ben Rothwell

Rothwell is in excellent shape, and his killer instinct is scary. 

While questions regarding his conditioning have marred his stock in the past, Rothwell looks to be in the best shape of his life, as he unleashed heaps of energy in Round 3 despite engaging in two active, fast-paced rounds before the outburst. 

Rothwell may not be on the championship level in the heavyweight division just yet, but there are few fighters who will match his intensity and power, and that could carry him far if he continues to build his arsenal moving forward. 


What's Next for Brandon Vera?

Vera falls significantly down the heavyweight ranks with this loss. 

He looked decent until the finish, but I just do not see how he can compete with the division's best at this point in his career. 

Give him Pat Barry and see which guy deserves to stick around. 


What's Next for Ben Rothwell?

Rothwell lobbied for a fight with Travis Browne in his post-fight interview, but I think Browne deserves better after knocking out Alistair Overeem in his last outing. 

While a Browne vs. Rothwell fight would be fun, I think a fight against Stipe Miocic makes more sense for Rothwell right now.