Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns later TONIGHT (Sat., Aug. 13, 2022) to stage UFC San Diego from inside Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California. Headlining the event is a pivotal Bantamweight showdown between Marlon Vera and former division kingpin, Dominick Cruz. In the co-main event of the evening, Nate Landwehr takes on David Onama in a Featherweight scrap.
When you really peel back the layers and look at Dominick Cruz’s career, the man has still only lost three times throughout 17-year run as a pro mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. That said, why does it feel like he’s not “in the mix” in a Bantamweight division he dominated for six years? Is it because two of those losses came back-to-back? They did, but they happened four years apart to Cody Garbrandt (snapping his 12-fight win streak in 2016), and then to Henry Cejudo via technical knockout in 2020. He did bounce back with two straight wins, but perhaps because they came against Casey Kenny and Pedro Munhoz, people aren’t looking at him as the same world beater that terrorized the 135-pound weight class for so long. Could it also be because he’s getting up there in years (38) that some may think he doesn’t have much to offer against the Top 5, or can’t measure up against the best, the younger generation? Sure, “The Dominator” is currently ranked No. 8, but don’t get it twisted, he still has a lot in the tank and can still bang with the big boys. And that’s just what he plans on proving when he battles Marlon Vera, the No. 5 ranked fighter at 135 pounds.
Vera is currently on a three-fight win streak and has quietly gone 9-2 over his last 11 fights, including holding a win (the only man to do so), over Sean O’Malley. “Chito” has a nice opportunity in front of him to score a win over a former longtime world champion, which would be his second conquest over such fighter in the last two years after he knocked out ex-Lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, at UFC 268 nine months ago. The 29 year-old Ecuadorian has the chance to infiltrate the championship picture with a win over Cruz, but just don’t expect it to be a walk in the park. This is an interesting fight on many fronts because on one hand you have a former world champion who was dominant for so long, and on the other you have a contender who can’t seem to get over the hump in a big fight. This will tell us plenty regarding where they are in their careers, with a longtime veteran hoping for perhaps one final push to another title fight, while the other is looking to break into the championship picture after eight years with the promotion.
I don’t understand the reasoning behind booking Lupita Godinez against Angela Hill. “Loopy” is 3-2 inside the Octagon and riding a two-fight win streak, while Hill hasn’t tasted victory in over a year and a half, has lost three in a row, and is 1-5 in her last six fights. Sure Hill has some name value, but Godinez deserves to get someone with a better track record over her last four or five fights.
Original Card vs. Actual Card:
A fight between Josh Quinlan and Jason Witt was moved from UFC Vegas 59 to this event one day before it was set to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Alexa Grasso was forced out of her scheduled fight against Viviane Araujo after she encountered some visa issues.
Istela Nunes suffered an undisclosed injury, ultimately forcing her out of a fight against Yazmin Jauregui. Lasmin Lucindo agreed to step in to take the fight in what will be her UFC debut. Malcolm Gordon was in line to face Alan Nascimento at this event but was forced out of the event as a result of an undisclosed injury. Also, Aspen Ladd was forced out of her fight against Sara McMann after testing positive for COVID-19.
In the Heavyweight division, Lukasz Brzeski will make his official UFC debut when he faces Martin Buday. The hulking Polish brawler comes in with a record of 8-1 with five knockouts and two submissions. As for Buday, he will give the UFC rookie all he can handle, because he is on a nine-fight win streak and is coming off a victory over Chris Barnett earlier this year.
Damon Blackshear will bring his four-fight win streak into the Octagon to face off against Youssef Zalal in Bantamweight action. Blackshear is the former Cage Fury Fighting Championship champion with his lone loss in the last three years coming against current Bellator standout, Danny Sabatello. He will be facing a man who is in desperate need of a win after losing his last three fights, putting him on the chopping block should he lose this fight.
Josh Quinlan will finally get to make his UFC debut after his bout against Jason Witt was postponed a week ago. Quinlan’s on a five-fight win streak — all finishes — while Witt is just 2-3 under the UFC banner. He is coming off a defeat at the hands of Philipe Rowe earlier this year via second-round knockout so he is hungry for a win in his return.
Yazmin Juaregui and Lasmin Lucindo will make their UFC debuts against one another. Juaregui is 8-0 with six KO/TKO wins under her belt, while Lucindo is coming in hot with a seven-fight win streak, four of those victories coming by way of KO/TKO.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
We’ve already discussed several undercard bouts in the sections prior, so let’s take a look at the other two fights that will kick off the event and have yet to touch on.
In the Flyweight division, Ode Osbourne is in search of his third straight win when he battles Tyson Nam. Osbourne hasn’t been able to find much of a groove inside the Octagon, but it seems that he is finally starting to build some momentum. Nam, meanwhile, will be coming off an extended layoff, as he was last seen losing to Matt Schnell in Jan. 2021, snapping his two-fight win streak.
In the Lightweight division, Charlie Ontiveros and Gabriel Benitez will face off in what could also be a loser leaves town match. Both men are coming into the bout having lost two straight fights. Benitez is 1-4 over his last five bouts inside the Octagon, while Ontiveros has yet to win under the UFC banner. The outlook for the loser will be very grim once the dust settles.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Remember when Dana White pegged Cynthia Calvillo as a fighter with the potential to reach Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey level? Yeah, it didn’t quite pan out that way. Calvillo started off her UFC career with a 6-1-1 record but has since dropped three in a row. Now, the Team Alpha Male (TAM)-trained fighter will attempt to breathe some much-needed life into a combat career that is going downhill in a hurry. Calvillo still can turn it around, but if she suffers another loss when she tangos with Nina Nunes on the “prelims,” it could put her in a tough spot with the promotion. Nunes, meanwhile, isn’t exactly doing so great, either, having lost her last two fights against Mackenzie Dern and Tatiana Suarez.
Interest Level: 6/10
Co-headlining the event is a Featherweight fight between Nate Landweher and David Onama. It’s not quite one that jumps out at you because neither man is ranked at the moment, and neither one has made all that much noise so far. Landweher has alternated wins and losses since making his debut two years ago. As for Onama, he is coming off back-to-back wins over Gabriel Benitez and Garrett Armfield, so he has the chance to score his first three-fight win streak with the promotion.
Elsewhere on the card, undefeated (11-0, 1-0 UFC) Light Heavyweight Azamat Murzakanov battles Devin Clark in what could be a “Fight of the Night” contender. Murzakanov has nine wins via KO/TKO and one via submission, only seeing the judges’ scorecards once in his career. As for Clark, he is coming off a ferocious finish over William Knight earlier this year. In fact, Clark’s lone losses in the last three years have come against top contenders Anthony Smith and Ion Cutelaba.
Ariane Lipski finally managed to break her two-fight skid by defeating Mandy Bohm in Sept. 2021, giving her a new lease on her combat life. She will look to get her second straight win when she battles Priscilla Cachoeira, who is coming off a win over Ji Yeaon Kim. Cachoeira has finally managed to get rid of the stench left behind following her lopsided loss to Valentina Shevchenko in her debut back in 2018 by putting together an even 3-3 record inside the Octagon since.
In the Middleweight division, Gerald Meerschaert is eyeing a trip back in the win column after Krzystof Jotko snapped his three-fight win streak. His opponent this time around is Bruno Silva, who had his seven-fight win streak snapped by Alex Pereira earlier this year, halting his momentum after winning his first three fights inside the Octagon via KO/TKO.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC San Diego Main Event On ESPN/ESPN+:
135 lbs.: Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz
UFC San Diego Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Nate Landwehr vs. David Onama
115 lbs.: Yazmin Jauregui vs. Iasmin Lucindo
205 lbs.: Devin Clark vs. Azamat Murzakanov
125 lbs.: Ariane Lipski vs. Priscila Cachoeira
185 lbs.: Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bruno Silva
UFC San Diego ‘Prelims’ On ESPN/ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Loopy Godinez vs. Angela Hill
265 lbs.: Lukasz Brzeski vs. Martin Buday
125 lbs.: Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes
155 lbs.: Gabriel Benitez vs. Charlie Ontiveros
125 lbs.: Tyson Nam vs. Ode Osbourne
170 lbs.: Josh Quinlan vs. Jason Witt
135 lbs.: Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Youssef Zalal
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC San Diego fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
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