Marlon Vera and Dominick Cruz are in the middle of attention this weekend. The bantamweight duo clashes at the UFC on ESPN 41, and also headlines this event set for August 13 in San Diego, California. Both fighters have high hopes for this event because a win here could bring them at least a title eliminator, if not the title shot. Vera is one of the young lions in the division, while on the other side, Cruz is the old school and a two-time UFC bantamweight champion who is after history and another belt. If he reaches it, that would be one of the greatest MMA stories ever.
Marlon Vera (-210) (21-7-1 MMA, 13-6 UFC) won the last three bouts, four in the previous five, with the only loss coming to Jose Aldo back in December 2020. After that, he went on to beat Davey Grant, Frankie Edgar, and Rob Font. The bout against Edgar ended with a KO, and the remaining two were via unanimous decision.
Vera is a very aggressive guy, who is always trying to inflict a kick or a punch. He wants to set the pace and the tempo inside the octagon and simply doesn’t know to fight differently than that. But not just that, his skills went to another level in the past few years. In the beginning, this guy was reckless, but now, that isn’t the case.
With 29 years, Chito is already established as one of the best in the division, and he isn’t even in his prime. He is an all-around finisher with seven KOs and eight submissions, while four wins came via decision. There is no doubt that this guy has championship potential. Will he use it, we’ll see.
Dominick Cruz (+185) (24-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) was a champion. On two occasions. He is one of the most decorated fighters in the UFC, and he is trying to become even greater. The 36-year-old attempts to win the belt for the third time, which would most definitely put him among the greatest ever MMA fighters.
Cruz didn’t visit the octagon after his loss to Cody Garbrandt and dethroning in 2016 until he attempted to win back the title almost four years later when he lost to Henry Cejudo. Though he didn’t lament over those failures, he continued to fight, posting two wins in a row against Casey Kenney and Pedro Munhoz.
The Dominator is a physically flawless fighter, who won 16 of his 24 battles via decision. His footwork and movement are without a doubt the best in the entire organization, and we can say that there aren’t many combat athletes with such a gift.
Vera is on the rise, and from battle to battle, he seems better and better. Meanwhile, Cruz didn’t impress us in his previous two events. Age is catching up with him, which isn’t the case with Chito. This won’t be pleasant for many here, but we believe that his championship dreams are going to be over following this event. Vera gained enough experience and looks better overall than Cruz, and he is our pick for Saturday night.
Pick: Vera wins -200
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.