After two decades as a professional mixed martial artist, Brandon Vera removed his gloves and left them in the middle of the ONE Championship cage.
The 45-year-old Filipino-American superstar announced his retirement from the sport following a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Iran’s Amir Aliakbari by way of technical knockout in the first round of their heavyweight encounter at ONE 164 on Saturday, December 3 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
With a cloud of doubt hovering over his career, Vera sought answers if he could turn back the clock one more time. Unfortunately, Father Time had other plans for the former ONE heavyweight champion.
With “The Truth” giving his back to the Iranian in a turtle position, Aliakbari went for the kill as he rained down a torrent of punches to force referee Herb Dean to save Vera from further punishment at the 3:37 mark of the opening salvo.
With the statement win over Vera, Aliakbari raised his record to 12-3 and had won his second consecutive match.
On the other hand, Vera capped off his run with a 16-7 slate.
“You just witnessed ‘The Truth’s’ very last fight in MMA. I wish I could’ve taken home the win. I broke my damn hand again. Thank you all for showering me with love. I love you all. I’ll be around,” a tearful Vera declared.
Vera rose to stardom when he joined the UFC in October 2005 as a heavily-hyped heavyweight prospect, finishing seven of his eight foes that included former UFC titleholder Frank Mir.
He then directed his path to ONE Championship in 2014, making history as the promotion’s inaugural heavyweight kingpin a year later.