UFC 77: Are Brandon Vera and Tim Sylvia Fighting for a Title Shot? Posted by MMA Junkie on October 9, 2007 at 11:26 am ET After a nearly one-year absence from competition, undefeated UFC heavyweight Brandon Vera (8-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) will return to the octagon next weekend at UFC 77 to take on former champ Tim Sylvia (23-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC). If victorious, the charismatic Californian may ask UFC officials for a title shot. The Houston Chronicle‘s Steve Sievert recently spoke to Vera about the possibility. “Vera says if he wins in emphatic fashion, he’ll ask for an immediate title shot,” Sievert reported. However, given the current state of the UFC’s heavyweight division, Vera may not even need to ask for the title shot in order to get it. Prior to his issues with former manager Mark Dion, Vera was slated to face then-champ Sylvia at UFC 68 in March. However, the fighter had only one fight remaining on his current deal, and the UFC refused to book a new one until a new contract was in place. Vera claims Dion lied about what the UFC was offering — and was even shopping for a contract with other organizations without his approval. UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, who came out of retirement, got the title shot instead and defeated Sylvia via unanimous decision. Vera ended the relationship with Dion soon after, and when the UFC needed a marquee match to complement next weekend’s UFC 77 main event between middleweight champ Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin, he got the call to fight Sylvia. If Vera wins — and if he does it in convincing fashion — the request for a title shot may come. But will it be granted? Actually, it appears likely. Current champ Couture will likely return to action Feb. 2 for a SuperBowl weekend card in Las Vegas. There’s been speculation that he would face Fedor Emelianenko, but the PRIDE heavyweight champion seems to be in no hurry to sign with the UFC. And, as of now, no Plan B has been mentioned. Additionally, a bout between top contenders Cheick Kongo and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been pushed back until early 2008, so the fight’s winner wouldn’t be ready for Couture in February. As for other possible opponents, a rematch with Gabriel Gonzaga seems unlikely, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has lost two in a row (and reportedly isn’t returning phone calls from the UFC), Andrei Arlovski still hasn’t gotten a new deal (and would probably need a tune-up fight anyway), and Fabricio Werdum seems to have fallen off the face of the earth since a lackluster loss to Arlovski in April. In other words, if Vera is victorious next weekend, he very well could get a title shot (in fact, the same goes for Sylvia) — without even having to ask for it.