UFC San Diego went down this past weekend (Sat., Aug., 13, 2022) inside Pechanga Arena in San Diego, Calif., providing combat fans with an absolute thrilling night of action-packed fights. Plenty of fighters were left feeling the post-fight blues, including Ariane Lipski, who was knocked out by Priscila Cachoeira in the first round (see it here).
And Devin Clark, who was knocked out by Azamat Murzakanov in the third round of their Light Heavyweight match up. But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?
Coming into his headlining bout against Marlon Vera, “The Dominator” was in search of his third straight win with the hopes of cracking the Top 5 to once again inch closer to another shot at reclaiming the 135-pound title. Furthermore, the long-time veteran was out to show that he still had plenty left in the old gas tank.
And he did just that, taking it to Vera from the jump, coming out aggressive, and firing off shots that kept “Chito” on his toes. As is customary, his excellent footwork was on full display, using it to his advantage to get in, get out and avoid the huge shots. And though he did get dropped on a few occasions by Vera, Cruz was connecting with more volume and scoring the takedowns, allowing him to be up on the judges scorecards going into the fourth frame.
But, it was in that fourth frame that Vera managed to time one of Cruz’s defensive reflexes and clip him with a devastating kick to the head, sending him crashing to the canvas only to receive two more massive follow-up shots. And just like that, a fight that Cruz seemed to be in control of was taken from him in the blink of an eye.
The loss is a crucial one for Cruz because it halts his momentum and will likely cost him a few spots in the rankings, meaning it will take that much more work to get back into the championship mix. But, as “The Dominator” has shown throughout his entire career, there's not a loss or an injury that can keep him down.
Before he was stopped, Cruz was in full form and looked better than ever. His timing was great, his precision striking was on point and, for the most part, his defense was intact. So let’s not act as if Cruz got out-classed. He didn’t. He showed that he can still hang with the cream of the crop of the division. And if you think he's just going to roll over and die, you got another thing coming.
As for what’s next for the ex-champion, I want to wait and see what happens next Saturday night at UFC 278 between Jose Aldo and Merab Dvalishvili. If Dvalishvili takes out Aldo, then I would love to finally see Cruz and Aldo go toe-to-toe before their careers come to an end.
Both men have rich championship histories as two of the faces of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), and as the most decorated champions of their respective divisions ( Featherweight and Bantamweight). This is a fight that has been on everyone’s wish list for some time now, and if the stars align, it would be a huge miss on the part of UFC matchmakers if they don’t make it happen.
For complete UFC San Diego: “Cruz vs. Vera” results and play-by-play, click HERE.