Two key figures in the UFC bantamweight division are set to face off in the Octagon in the early hours of Sunday morning, with Marlon Vera going up against Dominick Cruz in San Diego, California.
The dynamic 29-year-old Vera - presently one of the most talked-about fighters on the UFC roster - made his mark on the division last time out with victory by decision over Rob Font in a high-octane UFC Vegas 53 scrap.
A lethal finisher with a potent mix of jabs, low kicks and heavy shots, the Ecuadorian has recorded 15 of his 19 career wins to date without needing to go the distance.
His opponent this weekend, the experienced 'Dominator' Dominick Cruz, a former champion and legend of the bantamweight division, made his name as a master of landing strikes while dodging attacks and represents a stern test for the younger combatant.
An early grounding in Brazilian jiu-jitsu having seemingly paid dividends, Ecuadorian native Marlon Vera has an array of potent weapons to call on. At number five in the divisional rankings, victory over a reputable fighter such as Dominick Cruz would set him well on his way to the summit, where Aljamain Sterling sits top of the pile.
Cruz may have fallen from the bantamweight throne since his title-fight loss to Cody Garbrandt in 2016, but the American has put injury misfortune behind him to spark a return to form.
An unsuccessful title shot in 2020 against Henry Cejudo after a three-year lay-off ended in a TKO, but the 36-year-old, now ranked eighth, boasts an impressive record of never having lost a non-title bout during his lengthy career.
He comes into the event on a two-fight win streak, having beaten Casey Kenney by split decision at UFC 259 in March 2019, before overcoming Pedro Munhoz last December via unanimous decision, despite suffering two knockdowns in the opening round.
Marlon Vera vs Dominick Cruz takes place early in the morning on Sunday 14th August, 2022.
The prelims will begin at 21:30 on Saturday evening, while the main card gets underway at around 00:00 on Sunday morning. The main event between Vera and Cruz is expected to take place at around 03:00.
San Diego’s Pechanga Arena will host the event.
Yes. The event is available to watch on BT Sport 1 from 22:00.
Marlon Vera is the favourite, priced at 5/11, while Dominick Cruz can be backed at 8/5.
No. Marlon Vera is #5 in the UFC Bantamweight rankings, with Dominick Cruz #8, and therefore a win for either fighter puts him a step closer to challenging current champion Aljamain Sterling.
27 fights, 19 wins (7 KOs), 7 losses, 1 draw.
27 fights, 24 wins (7 KOs), 3 losses.
Marlon Vera vs Dominick Cruz
Nate Landewehr vs David Onama
Devin Clark vs Azamat Murzakanov
Cynthia Calvillo vs Nina Nunes
Gerald Meerschaert vs Bruno Silva
Yazmin Jauregui vs Iasmin Lucindo
Angela Hill vs Lupita Godniez
Martin Buday vs Lukasz Brzeski
Gabriel Benitez vs Charlie Ontiveros
Youssef Zalal vs Da'Mon Blackshear
Ode Osbourne vs Tyson Nam