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The main event comes in the Bantamweight division, as Marlon Vera takes on former Champion Dominick Cruz. Coming off an impressive victory over Rob Font, which extended the win-streak to three, Vera enters this fight with an opportunity to not only knock off a former champion, but position himself to be next in line. Having been in the UFC since 2014, the Ecuadorian has evolved himself into a legitimate contender. Meanwhile, Cruz has eyes set on reclaiming his throne. A winner of two-straight, the former Champion has re-aligned himself among the top contenders in this seemingly crowded Bantamweight division. With a victory over Vera and given his prolific history, there is a chance that Cruz could vie for the title in his next fight.
In a fight that’s a major puzzle piece to solving the division, I expect both men to put on an excellent performance. Vera, is a striker to the core. Looking to break down foes with volume and eventually put them down, Vera is a dangerous man to stand across from. Boasting excellent cardio, Vera is never one to relent to a pace, but embrace it. If taken down, Vera is well verse in grappling and is known to be dangerous in his guard. Having never been stopped in twenty-seven professional fights, Vera is among the most durable fighters on the roster. As for Cruz, he is truly one of the best Bantamweight’s to ever grace mixed martial arts. With over seven years of lost time due to injuries, most of which was during his prime, a credit should be given to how Cruz has re-positioned himself among a talent stacked division. Known for his unique footwork and angles, Cruz is one of the more tricky fighters to solve on the feet. Perhaps the hardest to hit as well, as his striking defense of 71% may be the best in the sport. Not one gifted with power, Cruz makes up for his activity. Whether it’s striking or wrestling, Cruz is always looking to score points.
Bound to be an exciting fight, I’m siding with Vera. Against perhaps the most active striker on the roster in Rob Font, Vera’s gas tank and output never waned over twenty-five minutes. If there was any negative in that fight, it was that Vera absorbed 271 significant strikes. In fact, in some rounds, Vera almost got doubled-up on strikes. While that could be concerning, there are only a select few fighters who can sustain that much output. Cruz is not one of them. Despite being active on the feet, the former champ isn’t necessarily accurate. As evident by a 33% striking accuracy. Cruz also has been showing some chin issues of late, getting dropped four times in the last four fights. Not entirely dominating his opponents of late either, I’m not certain Cruz has what it takes to beat a crafty and high caliber opponent like Vera. So with that said, I predict that Vera wins via TKO.