Marlon Vera pulled off another great performance last night (Sat., Aug. 13, 2022), knocking out Dominick Cruz with a massive head kick four rounds into their fight (watch highlights). As usual, Cruz used his unorthodox movement to frustrate Vera and claim the first two rounds on all three judges’ scorecards, but “Chito” stayed patient and waited for the kill shot to finally land.
Following the fight, a satisfied Vera spoke with media at the UFC San Diego post-fight press conference.
“I just like to let it digest, I appreciate the moment, enjoy it with my family and my friends and my team, and just ... just knowing that everything I did leading to this fight paid off,” he said. “Hard work, staying consistent, staying focused, don’t be f—ing around like an idiot and just being consistent. This is the best years of my life are ahead of me right now. Why don’t be all in, you know?”
“Now’s my time, I’ve been calling it. But you know, next week comes out and I gotta go back to the gym and keep working because those performances don’t just happen like that if you’re going halfway. I’m all in.”
As for the finishing blow, it’s not something specific that Vera trained, but he and his team knew about Cruz ducking his head into kicks, and his coach asked him between rounds to exploit that habit.
“Six days ago, my coach sent me a picture, just a screenshot, of Munhoz kicking him in the body and his head was dipping,” Vera said. “He didn’t say anything, just sent me the picture. I saw it and I was like ‘Okay, I know what you’re talking about it.’ In the third round, in-between, he told me ‘Punch in the air, have him dip, and throw a haymaker.’ At least I’m good to coach, you know?
“Honestly, me and my team, we really think the way he fights is kind of very low-level,” Vera continued. “There’s no base, there’s no good stance. All that movement side-to-side like I’m like, we told each other I have to kick this guy’s ass, but by saying that you put a lot of pressure on yourself. I just believe that style is not the best style for MMA. Maybe for boxing it can work better. But for MMA you got way too many weapons going.”
With the Bantamweight division being one of the most stacked and exciting divisions in UFC right now, Vera knows there’s no guarantee a title shot will come off this win. He seemed completely relaxed and at peace with the idea of having to claw and scrape his way to a championship bout.
“That’s the good thing about having a good mindset and just really not giving a f— about the things you cannot control, you know?” he said. “I wake up every day, I feel motivated, I have a lot of drive, I go to the gym. I don’t train when I have a fight, I train all year round, so I get it, sometimes the UFC pick a guy over others, but we’re all self-contractors, this is not like, they don’t work for us, we don’t work for them, they just pick who’s the best to give us the best show. So, I don’t mind working like that, and I know for a matter of fact they like me. So, why be tripping when you know everything’s gonna come your way. Just keep working.”
This win puts Vera on a four-fight win streak, and earns him the record for most Bantamweight finishes in UFC history with 10.
For complete UFC San Diego: “Cruz vs. Vera” results and play-by-play, click HERE.