Marlon Vera is on the cusp of his first UFC bantamweight title fight; Dominick Cruz makes it to the top of the mountain for the fourth time. Vera vs. Cruz headlines UFC Fight Night as the promotion comes to a halt in San Diego, Calif., on Saturday night.
Vera (19-7-1) is eyeing the throne and has no intention of falling short of another former champion. “Chito” has endeared himself to MMA fans with his no-nonsense attitude and all-action approach. This cold-blooded personality was the perfect foil for Sean O’Malley’s brash charisma in 2020. A first-round TKO on O’Malley earned Vera an important fight against the former UFC featherweight champion and legend Jose Aldo. Vera fell short that night, but has since regained momentum with telling performances against Davey Grant, Frankie Edgar and Rob Font. Vera, full of confidence, approaches Cruz’s fight with the same perspective that has served him thus far.
“I don’t do monsters of men,” Vera told CBS Sports. “I don’t think there is an impossible fight. But there are also no easy fights. It’s not easier than Rob Font. It’s not easier than Petr Yan. This is not easier than [UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain] Sterling. All are equally tough. It’s how you show up, how you live from start to finish at camp. It’s not about those guys. It’s about me. For me, it’s about being consistent, being sharp and staying in shape. It’s my only fucking job.”
Cruz (24-3) is still on the comeback. The first UFC bantamweight champion fights outside his hometown on Saturday night for the first time since 2009. After returning in 2020 to challenge Henry Cejudo for the title when most thought the veteran retired in 2016 due to injuries, Cruz looked good enough to wrestle in the loaded division. A pair of wins over Casey Kenney and Pedro Munhoz has Cruz thinking he can achieve the title again.
“I can honestly say that I made the 20s very difficult for me with the decision-making, with the mind, with the thought process, with the stress,” Cruz told reporters at the media day. of Wednesday. “I’ve heard a lot that I seem calmer in interviews. I think it’s just because of the maturity of living life and having wins and losses and learning to be more grateful for things instead of getting attached to things. It really helped keep me from getting hurt too, that’s the mindset. You can manifest a lot of hurt just by being stressed.
“Why would I do this if I wasn’t aiming for a championship?”
Can’t get enough of boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news, including a full preview of UFC Fight Night Saturday below.
Elsewhere on the card, expectations are high for featherweight David Onama in the co-main event. Onama (10-1) bounced back from a first loss to Mason Jones in a major fashion. A first-round TKO of Gabriel Benitez and a second-round submission against Garrett Armfield renewed faith in his potential. Next up is the eclectic Nate Landwehr hot on the heels of an anaconda choke submission on Ľudovít Klein in October.
Plus, the female veterans are back in a star fight when Cynthia Calvillo and Nina Nunes meet at flyweight. Calvillo has had a tough time since debuting with a long winning streak. The San Jose native has lost three fights in a row, two of them by knockout. Now she’s looking to right the ship against Nunes, who herself has lost two straight after winning four straight.
“I always wanted to fight Cynthia,” Nunes said on media day. “I thought it would be right for her too, she prepared for a fight against me. It wasn’t her fault. They might be asking to do it on Long Island, but I wasn’t sure. it would be a 24-48 hours.The next card they had was San Diego, I think she’s from California, so that worked out well.That was enough time for her to reduce her weight.
Here is the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
UFC Fight Night card, odds
|Marlon Vera -240||Dominique Cruz +200||Bantam-weight|
|David Onama-300||Nate Landwehr +240||Lightweight|
|Azamat Murzakanov-155||Devin Clark +130||Light heavyweight|
|Cynthia Calvillo-170||Nina Nunes +145||Women’s Flyweight|
|Bruno Silva-310||Gerald Meerschaert +250||Average weight|
|Yazmin Jauregui -210||Iasmin Lucindo +175||Women’s Straw Weight|
UFC Fight Night Display Information
Date: August 13 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Pechanga Arena — San Diego, California
TV channel: ESP | Flow: fuboTV (try for free)
Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz: Vera deals with violence all the time. This is evident after a five-round beating of Rob Font and a third-round knockout of Frankie Edgar. Cruz’s unique elusiveness has remained viable 16 years after his professional debut. He may not be as powerful as he once was, but the veteran can still point out significant opposition. Their styles are reflected in their pro-records. Vera leads with a 56% finish rate to Cruz’s 23% in 27 fights apiece. An aging Frankie Edgar took the lead against “Chito” before Vera turned it around late in the second round. Font had his most successful lap on the first. A five-round fight benefits Vera. His power wears late and 25 minutes gives him plenty of time to pick up on Cruz’s troublesome patterns. Cruz deserves serious applause for battling so many injuries and still competing at a respectable level. He can certainly piss off Vera for the majority of the five rounds. The challenge will be to hit Vera with enough force to deter the Ecuadorian fighter from advancing. The wins over Munhoz and Kenney were impressive but competitive enough to wonder how far he can take this latest race. Vera via TKO4
Who wins Vera against Cruz? And which fighter is a must-have? Visit SportsLine now for detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the insider who has earned over $10,000 on MMA picks over the past two years, and find out.