UFC veteran Vera tries to rekindle fire

It's a trick that many people used to try in order to woo a mate in high school.

Brandon Vera has employed it in an effort to recapture some of the desire that made much of the mixed martial arts community proclaim him a prodigy when he first burst on the scene.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight made himself a mix tape.

"There is just a whole different attitude now. I even made a soundtrack of all the songs I used to listen to when I first started training," Vera said on a conference call. "The attitude now -- I know this is PG-13 and I can't say it -- but it's more 'F-it.' "

The 32-year-old will fight Jon Jones in the main event of a UFC card on Versus on Sunday night in Broomfield, Colo.

Vera said 2009 was somewhat disappointing for him. He won twice last year before losing a controversial decision to Randy Couture in November.

"I (have) stopped believing in the hype, I (have) stopped worrying about what people think, and I'm just kind of going back in just trying to hurt people again like I used to," he said. "I got away from that somehow. I don't know what happened, (but) I'm over it. I just want to go ahead and go back in there and start doing things like I used to."

■ VERSUS RETURNS -- Versus is back on DirecTV after a dispute that lasted more than six months.

The network will return to the satellite provider on the same programming packages that it was on at the end of August, when DirecTV stopped offering the network to subscribers.

The agreement comes just in time for the first UFC card on Versus, which will air live Sunday night.

"We're excited that we were able to come to a fair agreement that puts Versus back in millions of homes with DirecTV in time for our busy spring programming schedule," Versus president Jamie Davis said in a news release.

Versus, which also regularly carries World Extreme Cagefighting cards, will air on channel 603 on DirecTV. It is channel 38 on Cox cable.

■ HUERTA SIGNS WITH BELLATOR -- Former UFC lightweight Roger Huerta has signed with Bellator Fighting Championships and will compete in the organization's upcoming lightweight tournament.

The winner of the tournament will get a shot at champion Eddie Alvarez.

Huerta won six fights in a row in the UFC before losing to Kenny Florian in 2008. He then took a year off to pursue acting and modeling opportunities before returning to drop a split decision against Gray Maynard in September.

Huerta, 26, said at a Monday news conference that he was intrigued by his new organization's format.

"I think Bellator is the next big thing in this sport. I love the tournament format, and the awesome talent that they have at 155 will give me a chance to prove myself as one of the top lightweights in the world," he said.

Huerta will debut for Bellator on April 8 in Hollywood, Fla. The card will air on Fox Sports Net.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.


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