It looks like Marlon Vera and Dominick Cruz will fight each other after all.
ESPN Desportes has revealed that sources close to both fighters have said a bout between Cruz and Vera has been verbally agreed to, and will happen in the main event of an upcoming UFC Fight Night-themed event on Aug. 13, 2022.
Vera had spent the better part of a year trying to fight Cruz, but “The Dominator” had no interest in the fight so long as “Chito” was below him in the Bantamweight rankings. Following an impressive win over Rob Font in April (watch highlights), Vera rose up to No. 5, leaving Cruz in his dust at No. 8.
In recent interviews, Vera had stated he was no longer interested in fighting Cruz because of the former champion’s reluctance to fight him. Instead, he targeted another former 135-pound champion: Petr Yan. The two went back-and-forth on Twitter with Yan demanding Vera wait until October for a fight. That seems to be too far away for “Chito,” who is on a three-win roll at the moment.
As for Cruz, he hasn’t fought since a decision win over Pedro Munhoz in Dec. 2021. In a recent interview with The MMA Hour, Cruz said UFC offered him a fight immediately after beating Munhoz, but he had to turn it down because of an injury. Matchmakers then shelved him for six months rather than offer him another fight.
Cruz explained his reluctance to fight Vera, saying, “If moving up the ladder didn’t matter, then why would you ask for somebody above you, not underneath you in the division, like he’s done? Well, it’s the same reason I have, the same reason the rest of us all have: We’re all fighting in the same bracket to be champion. So yeah, I’m not opposed to it. He’s ranked above me now, too. So sure. Let’s get the date.”
While Cruz wanted to be on a pay-per-view (PPV) card and not a Fight Night inside UFC Apex without fans, it seems like he’ll take what he can get to avoid another several months of inactivity. Is this a sign that the UFC Fight Night on Aug. 13, 2022, will be in a proper arena in front of fans?
Other confirmed fights on the upcoming card include Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bruno Silva, Sara McMann vs. Aspen Ladd, and Viviane Araujo vs. Alexa Grasso.