UFC Fight Night Report: Marlon Vera knocks out Dominick Cruz in the fourth round

Eric Marcotte's review of UFC Fight Night where Marlon Vera stopped Domincik Cruz, and an incredible fight between Nate Landwehr and David Onama.

Photo Courtesy: UFC

UFC Fight Night Report: Marlon Vera knocks out Dominick Cruz in the fourth round

On Saturday evening, the UFC held a Fight Night event at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California. The card was headlined by a bout between two bantamweight contenders, as the former two-time champion of the division, Dominick Cruz, faced Marlon “Chito” Vera. Vera had defeated three consecutive opponents going into this bout, highlighted by a strong win over Rob Font. Now the fifth-ranked bantamweight contender, Vera was inching close to a title shot, however, Dominick Cruz was looking to make a case for another opportunity at UFC gold as well, and a win over Vera here would shoot Cruz back into title contention. The co-main event of the evening saw Nate Landwehr face off against David Onama in what was practically guaranteed to be an exciting fight in the featherweight division.

The commentary team for this card consisted of Brendan Fitzgerald, Michael Bisping, and Daniel Cormier. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Tyson Nam and Marlon Vera. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Nate Landwehr and David Onama. The announced attendance for this event was 12,804, with a total gate of $1.735 million.



*Youssef Zalal vs. Da’Mon Blackshear resulted in a majority draw (28-28, 28-28, 29-28)

*Josh Quinlan def. Jason Witt by KO at 2:09 of Round 1

*Tyson Nam def. Ode Osbourne by KO at 2:59 of Round 1

*Gabriel Benitez def. Charlie Ontiveros by TKO at 3:35 of Round 1

*Nina Nunes def. Cynthia Calvillo by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)

*Martin Buday def. Lukasz Brzeski by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

*Angela Hill def. Lupita Godinez by unanimous decision (29-28 all)


*Gerald Meerschaert def. Bruno Silva by guillotine choke at 1:39 of Round 3

*Priscila Cachoeira def. Ariane Lipski by TKO at 1:05 of Round 1

*Azamat Murzakanov def. Devin Clark by TKO at 1:18 of Round 3

*Yazmin Jauregui def. Iasmin Lucindo by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

*Nate Landwehr def. David Onama by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)

*Marlon Vera def. Dominick Cruz by KO at 2:17 of Round 4


Zalal and Blackshear traded leg kicks to begin the fight. Zalal took Blackshear down and began to work from half guard with just under four minutes remaining in the round. Blackshear was looking for elbows and submissions off of his back, however, he did not have a ton of room to work against the cage, and Zalal was able to maintain his position while avoiding Blackshear’s submission attempts. Eventually, a leg lock attempt from Blackshear allowed him to scramble into top position, and he ended the round on the back of Zalal. Close round. 10-9 Blackshear.

Blackshear secured an early takedown in round two. He attempted to take the back of Zalal, but Zalal slipped out from under him, and he took Blackshear’s back himself just moments later. Blackshear escaped to his feet and was able to stop Zalal’s next takedown attempt. They battled in the clinch against the cage, with Blackshear ultimately climbing up Zalal’s back, and attempting a rear naked choke in the final seconds of the round. 20-18 Blackshear.

Zalal found success on the feet in the third round, backing Blackshear into the cage with combinations of strikes. Blackshear attempted a takedown, however, Zalal was able to keep the fight on the feet, and he continued to move forward, overwhelming Blackshear with his body shots and elbows to the head. Zalal’s bodywork had a clear effect on Blackshear, who was quickly slowing down, and eventually, a heavy kick to the body dropped Blackshear. Zalal followed him to the ground in an attempt to finish the fight, and while he came close to securing the stoppage, time expired before the fight could be stopped. 28-28.

Result: Majority Draw (28-28, 28-28, 29-28)

The 29-28 scorecard here was in favor of Blackshear, with the other two judges both awarding Zalal a 10-8 in the third round, resulting in a draw on their scorecards. I thought round three was a 10-8 round for Zalal as well, as he really overwhelmed Blackshear with his attack throughout the round, and nearly finished Blackshear in the round’s final minute. Despite dropping three consecutive fights going into this one, Zalal is a tough opponent, and I thought Blackshear looked solid considering this was his UFC debut, taken on fairly short notice. Zalal is now 3-3-1 in the UFC, and each of those fights has gone the distance.

JASON WITT (19-8, 179.5) VS JOSH QUINLAN (5-0, 1 NC, 175) – CATCHWEIGHT

Witt secured an early takedown, but Quinlan quickly escaped to his feet. Witt rushed in with a body kick attempt, however, Quinlan caught Witt with a counter left hook on his way in, and he knocked Witt out cold.

WINNER: Josh Quinlan by KO at 2:09 of Round 1

These fighters were originally scheduled to meet on last week’s UFC Fight Night card, however, an atypical result to one of Witts drug tests resulted in the fight being delayed a week. Despite the somewhat unusual rescheduling of this bout, this was a phenomenal knockout. Quinlan set the counter hook up perfectly, and there was no need to follow up with ground and pound shots after landing the hook because Witt was unconscious from the moment that it landed. This was an excellent way for Quinlan to make his UFC debut, and this marked his fourth career win by knockout.

ODE OSBOURNE (11-4, 1 NC, 125) VS TYSON NAM (20-12-1, 126) – FLYWEIGHT

Osbourne landed a strong kick to the body in the first minute, which led to a debate on commentary between Cormier and Bisping regarding whether Nam was hurt or not from the strike, as he smiled after it connected. Osbourne had the slight edge in terms of activity, but his big movements left him open to counters from Nam, and Nam landed a right hand after an attempted flying knee from Osbourne that dropped him. Nam gave Osbourne no room to recover and landed one more heavy hook as Osbourne attempted to recover, ending the fight.

WINNER: Tyson Nam by KO at 2:59 of Round 1

Nam was a sizeable underdog heading into this one, and honestly, I was quite surprised at those odds. Despite a lengthy period of inactivity going into this one, Nam is a heavy hitter, and he showcased just how dangerous he can be by stopping Osbourne just three minutes into the fight. Osbourne did look good throughout the first few minutes of the bout; however, he was just a bit too reckless at times, and it cost him here. Nam improved to 3-3 in the UFC following this win, with all three of those wins coming by knockout.


Ontiveros was looking sharp at the feet early in the fight, repeatedly catching Benitez with counter right hooks, while tagging him with numerous kicks to the head as well. Benitez closed the distance and pressed Ontiveros against the cage in search of a takedown, but an accidental knee that landed low resulted in the fighters being separated. Benitez wobbled Ontiveros with a left hand as the action resumed, and they started to trade wild shots before Benitez took Ontiveros down in a violent fashion. Benitez immediately transitioned to full mount, where he threw down vicious ground and pound strikes until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Gabriel Benitez by TKO at 3:35 of Round 1

This was a fight in which both men were desperately in need of a win, with Benitez losing four of his last five bouts going into this one, and with Ontiveros having a 0-2 promotional record. Ontiveros started the fight off strongly, however, Benitez came alive after the brief pause in the action following the low blow, and quickly secured the finish. It was a much-needed win for Benitez, and the crowd was solidly behind him here. Benitez’s UFC record now stands at 7-6.

CYNTHIA CALVILLO (9-4-1, 125.5) VS NINA NUNES (10-7, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT

Neither fighter was terribly active early in the bout, as Calvillo circled Nunes, looking to gauge her opponent’s timing. Nunes landed a series of leg kicks but slowed down after Calvillo caught one of them and tripped her to the ground. Still, the kicks had clearly taken their toll on Calvillo, and she was reaching down for each attempted kick from Nunes. The crowd was voicing their displeasure at the fighter’s inactivity; however, this did not prompt either fighter to start fighting with more aggression. 10-9 Nunes.

The pace of the fight did not pick up in the second round. Both fighters were somewhat hesitant to engage, and as a result, the first half of the round was very tough to judge. Eventually, Calvillo opted to take Nunes to the ground, and she began to work from the guard of Nunes with just over two minutes remaining in the round. Nunes landed a solid up kick at one point, and she was able to return to her feet moments later. This was a very tough round to score. 19-19,

Nunes went back to attacking the lead leg of Calvillo in the third round, and she found success here, forcing Calvillo to shoot for an unsuccessful takedown. Calvillo nearly got Nunes down around the halfway point of the round, however, Nunes was able to stay on her feet, and the fighters separated with just over two minutes to work. Calvillo began to fire back with some leg kicks of her own, however, they were not as effective, and Nunes likely won this round based on the damage she did to Calvillo’s leg. 29-28 Nunes.

WINNER: Nina Nunes by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)

While this was far from the most eventful fight, I thought Nunes earned the nod with her leg kick-heavy attack. The damage to Calvillo’s lead leg added up quickly, and she was never able to replicate that same level of effectiveness with her own offense, which led to her falling behind in the bout. After the decision was announced, Nunes announced her retirement from MMA, stating that she would like to have another child. Nunes retires with a professional record of 11-7, highlighted by wins over Claudia Gadelha and Angela Hill.


Buday pressured forward in the opening minute, clearly looking to get Brzeski out of there early. They started swinging bombs at each other, with Brzeski seemingly getting the better of the early exchange. A big right hand from Brzeski wobbled Buday, however, Buda recovered quickly and he resumed his forward pressure. I thought Brzeski largely landed the more effective shots throughout the round, however, it was a tough one to score. 10-9 Brzeski on my scorecard.

Brzeski attacked the lead leg of Buday early in the second round. Brzeski caught Buday with a solid right hand before landing another leg kick, and it felt as though Brzeski was starting to pull ahead in the fight due to activity. Buday connected with a heavy hook as he flurried forward, however, Brzeski took the shot well and returned fire. Buday taunted before connecting with an overhand right, waking up the crowd momentarily. 20-18 Brzeski.

Brzeski continued to be the busier fighter in the third round. While Buday was doing good work whenever he committed to his attack, activity was his enemy, and it was hard to justify scoring these rounds in his favor when Brzeski was pulling so far ahead in terms of activity. This was arguably Buday’s best round of the fight, however, I still thought Brzeski did just a bit more damage and was generally more effective with his attack. 30-27 Brzeski.

WINNER: Martin Buday by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

I was absolutely shocked by this decision. Brzeski was the far more active fighter, he was never hurt by Buday at any point in the bout, and he seemed to land the more damaging strikes throughout the fight. “Robbery” is one of the most overused terms in the sport to describe a decision that fans disagree with, but I thought that this was one of the few cases in which there is a degree of merit to using that term. Regardless of my own thoughts on the decision, Buday ultimately had his arm raised here, and he has now won ten consecutive fights.


Godinez connected with a big right hand that hurt Hill in the opening minute, and Hill shot for a takedown in response. Godinez defended the attempt, but Hill seemed to be recovered by the time the fighters separated. Godinez was looking very sharp early in this fight, catching Hill repeatedly whenever Hill attempted to close the distance. Hill began to find her rhythm late in the round, although her strikes did not appear to have as much power behind them as Godinez’s earlier shots did. Hill partially landed a head kick in the rounds final minute, before connecting with a flying knee. 10-9 Godinez.

Godinez took Hill down early in the second round, however, Hill was able to pop back to her feet after threatening a guillotine. Hill shot in for a takedown of her own, but Godinez was able to stop the attempt, and the fight remained on the feet. Hill was the advancing fighter in the second round, and Godinez seemed to be waiting for opportunities to counter, which was costing her slightly in terms of perceived activity. Godinez connected with a big right hand late in the round, but Hill took her down and landed a series of hammerfists before time expired. 19-19.

Hill connected with a strong uppercut to begin the final round. Godinez attempted to work her jab as Hill marched forward, and she found success on the backfoot before shooting for an unsuccessful takedown. After stopping Godinez’s attempt to bring the fight to the ground, Hill landed a head kick, and she attempted a takedown of her own to no success. With a minute remaining in the fight, this still felt like anyone’s round, but neither fighter was able to create that big fight-changing moment before time expired. 29-28 Hill on my scorecard, but a very close final round.

WINNER: Angela Hill by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

This bout was originally scheduled to take place in October, however both of these fighters are known for taking fights on short notice, and it was no surprise that they both said yes when the UFC asked if they wanted to move their fight all the way up to this particular day in mid-August. It was a very competitive fight, and despite Hill being in trouble early in the bout, I thought she bounced back strongly to edge out the next two rounds. Hill had lost five of her previous six bouts going into this fight, so this was a much-needed win for Hill, and her overall record in the promotion improved to 8-10 with this win.


Silva landed the first strong strike of the fight, a heavy right hand that he threw as he walked Meerschaert. Meerschaert eventually changed levels after a few minutes of trading punches with Silva, and he began to work from the guard of his opponent. Meerschaert threw a number of short ground and pound strikes from top position, before posturing up late in the round and throwing down a number of more damaging strikes.

Meerschaert attempted a front kick up the middle in the opening minute of round two, and Silva began to chase Meerschaert down afterward, throwing wild hooks that were largely missing. Meerschaert was not really looking for takedowns, however, the threat of them were keeping Silva from really stepping on the gas offensively. Silva found success whenever he calmly started attacking Meerschaert with combinations, however, he was often missing whenever he attempted to swarm Meerschaert with wild hooks. This was a difficult round to score, but I gave the slight edge to Meerschaert.

A big left hand from Meerschaert knocked Silva down in the third down, and Meerschaert followed him to the ground and immediately locked him in a guillotine choke, forcing Silva to submit.

WINNER: Gerald Meerschaert by guillotine choke at 1:39 of Round 3

Meerschaert largely outclassed Silva on the feet and practically knocked him out in the third round before finishing him with the guillotine choke. This was a phenomenal performance from Meerschaert, especially when you take into account that Silva was coming into this fight following a competitive fifteen-minute fight against Alex Pereira, who will be challenging Israel Adesanya for the UFC Middleweight Championship in his next fight. Meerschaert has now won four of his last five fights, and he called out Andre Petroski in his post-fight interview.


These two fighters traded wildly throughout the opening minute until a big right hand from Cachoeira finally knocked Lipski down. Cachoeira followed Lipski to the ground and she threw down violent ground and pound strikes until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Priscila Cachoeira by TKO at 1:05 of Round 1

These two fighters were originally scheduled to compete at last week’s UFC Fight Night event, but Lipski was not medically cleared to compete after missing weight drastically, and the fight was rescheduled for this card at bantamweight as opposed to flyweight. Cachoeira is a very hard hitter, and Lipski’s decision to stand and trade punches with her was an especially poor one. It was certainly an entertaining fight while it lasted, and while there are many questions to be asked of Lipski’s gameplan, this was exactly the type of fight Cachoeira likes to create, and exactly the type of fight in which she excels at. Cachoeira is now 4-1 throughout her last five fights, after starting her UFC run with three consecutive losses.


Murzakanov caught Clark with a heavy left hand down the middle early in the first round. Another left hand seemed to hurt Clark, and two minutes into the bout, Murzakanov appeared to have the advantage in terms of power. Clark was not reacting well to Murzakanov’s big shots, although he was able to remain on his feet despite eating some heavy left hands cleanly. Clark connected with a head kick, but Murzakanov closed the distance and attempted to take Clark down against the cage. Clark defended the attempt, and the fighters wrestled against the cage until time expired in the round.

Murzakanov hurt Clark on the feet in the opening minute of round two, but stayed patient, allowing Clark to recover. Murzakanov was landing very strong shots to the body, which further opened up the heavy left hands to the head, and eventually, Clark crumbled against the cage as a result of Murzakanov’s damage and pressure. Clark did his best to keep Murzakanov from doing too much damage from top position, however, Murzakanov continued to dig into the body before allowing Clark to return to his feet. Clark wrapped Murzakanov up in the clinch after eating one more heavy shot to the body, and the round ended in that position.

Another brutal body shot dropped Clark roughly a minute into the final round. Murzakanov followed him to the ground and threw down numerous ground and pound shots until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Azamat Murzakanov by TKO at 1:18 of Round 3

Every time that Murzakanov landed one of his heavy shots on Clark, it was immediately evident that he was throwing with extreme power based on Clark’s reactions, and when he started digging into the body, toughness was no longer enough to keep Clark in the fight. This was an excellent performance from Murzakanov and a dominant victory against a fighter with a lot of UFC experience in Devin Clark. Murzakanov has now won twelve consecutive fights, and he holds a 2-0 record in the UFC.


It did not take long for these fighters to start trading punches in the middle of the octagon. Lucindo was fighting a bit wildly, but she was finding her target despite being countered by Jauregui on occasion. A looping right hand from Lucindo seemed to hurt Jauregui, but she quickly recovered and the fighters reset. Jauregui caught Lucindo with a strong counter hook on her way in, however, Lucindo took the shot well and continued to flurry forward. This was a close round, but I gave the edge to Lucindo based largely on the right hand she landed that seemingly hurt Jauregui. 10-9 Lucindo.

They continued to trade hands in round two, with Jauregui getting the better of the wild exchanges. A left hook from Jauregui put Lucindo on the retreat, but they began to wrestle in the clinch where Lucindo was able to recover. The most damaging strikes of the bout were coming from the numerous punches exchanged in the pocket, and at times it was difficult to gauge which fighter was landing the better shots throughout these exchanges. While the round was very close, I gave the slightest of edges to Jauregui, who started the round off strongly before it evened out. 19-19.

Jauregui caught Lucindo with a solid one-two in the opening minute of the third round. The quick exchanges in the pocket continued throughout the final five minutes, as both fighters showcased impressive durability. I thought this was the toughest round to score of the three, as there was very little to separate the fighters, however, the heavy right hands from Jauregui very well may have been the difference maker in what was an exceedingly close round. 29-28 Jauregui.

WINNER: Yazmin Jauregui by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

This was an entertaining fight, and these two fighters certainly justified their position on this card, despite the fact that both of these fighters were making their UFC debut here. The fight was far closer than the scorecards may indicate, and I don’t think a scorecard in favor of Lucindo would have been in any way unreasonable, however, Jauregui earned the nod in the end, and this was a strong start to her run in the UFC. Jauregui improved to 9-0 professionally with this win. 


Both of these fighters clearly possessed serious power in their hands, and that was made evident throughout every tense exchange between the two. Eventually, a right hook from Onama knocked Landwehr to the ground, but it was tough to tell whether it was a slip or a legitimate knockdown. The next right hand from Onama resulted in a far clearer knockdown, and it appeared as though Landwehr was on the verge of being finished, but he somehow survived Onama’s onslaught on the ground, and he took top position with ninety seconds to work. Landwehr connected with a few heavy elbows, but Onama escaped to his feet, and he immediately flurried forward with a number of strikes that found their target. Landwehr connected with a number of heavy elbows in a clinch exchange, and ended the round with a strong knee up the middle. 10-9 Onama.

Landwehr appeared to be the fresher fighter in round two, and he tagged Onama with a number of straight left hands in the opening minute of round two, forcing Onama to shoot for a takedown. Onama was unsuccessful with his attempt to take this fight to the ground, and Landwehr caught Onama with numerous knees and elbows against the cage, before taking his back on the ground. Onama escaped to his feet, but he looked absolutely exhausted. Onama did not appear to have any gas left in his tank, and Landwehr was easily able to control Onama on the ground, where he landed numerous shots before attempting a guillotine choke. Onama escaped the choke, but he just had nothing left, and Landwehr wasted no time in bringing him back to the ground. Somehow Onama made it out of the round, but he was in deep, deep trouble heading into round three. 19-18 Landwehr.

I did not expect Onama to get off of his stool for this third round, but he did just that, and the third round began. Landwehr was really playing to the crowd, knowing that his opponent had very little left to offer him, and he repeatedly allowed Onama back to his feet after forcing him down. Somehow Onama summoned the will power to keep throwing shots, but he was unable to shift the momentum of the fight, and Landwehr remained a step ahead of Onama. In the final seconds of the fight, the two fighters agreed to trade hands in the middle of the cage, and Onama actually knocked Landwehr down, resulting in the crowd just exploding at what just unfolded in front of them. Landwehr made it to the end of the round, but this was just complete insanity. 29-27 Landwehr.

WINNER: Nate Landwehr by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)

I cannot stress just how chaotic this fight was. Onama had Landwehr in deep trouble in round one but was absolutely gassed by the time round two began. It was shocking that Onama was able to make it out of the second round, and there was serious doubt whether he would be able to continue fighting in round three, but not only did Onama continue fighting, but he nearly managed to finish Landwehr in the final seconds of the round. This was an absolute lock for Fight of the Night, and really, this was one of the best fights of the entire year. Landwehr is now 3-2 in the UFC, and Onama fell to 2-2 in the promotion as a result of this loss.


Cruz started the fight off aggressively, with the clear intent of pulling ahead of Vera who can be a slow starter. A calf kick from Cruz landed with power before he recorded the first takedown of the fight. Vera popped right back to his feet, and he dropped Cruz with a looping left hand. Cruz continued to fight aggressively in an attempt to make up ground following the knockdown, but Vera weathered the storm and remained composed, as you would expect from him. Cruz took Vera back down in the final minute of the round, but Vera was able to threaten an armbar to get Cruz off of him. Very tough round to score.

The leg kicks from Dominick Cruz really seemed to be affecting Vera, however, Vera’s advantage in power was keeping Cruz from following up on some of these kicks, as Cruz typically would. Cruz connected with a strong straight right hand, and Vera responded with a solid hook. Both fighters were attacking the body of the other, although both Cruz and Vera seemed to be taking the shots well. Vera was doing a good job defensively, avoiding a lot of Cruz’s looping strikes, however, he was definitely slightly behind in terms of activity. Cruz landed a heavy right hand in the final minute of the round, but Vera was able to defend the takedown attempt that followed.

Vera’s corner was honest with him, telling Vera that he needed to pick up the activity. Cruz landed a head kick in the opening minute of round three, and he followed that up with numerous looping hooks before Vera fired back, backing Cruz off of him. A right hand from Vera dropped Cruz hard against the cage, but somehow Cruz popped right back to his feet, and he immediately flurried forward with strikes yet again. Vera was constantly looking to catch Cruz with the same front kick that he caught Frankie Edgar with, but Cruz seemed wise to it. Vera defended Cruz’s attempts to take the fight to the ground, and the fighters would trade punches following the breaks. Vera was able to match Cruz’s activity in this third round, and the knockdown was enough to secure him the round.

Vera sprawled on a takedown attempt from Cruz to begin the fourth round, before eating a pair of hard straight right hands. A jab from Vera knocked Cruz down as he moved forward, although Cruz did not appear to be seriously hurt from this knockdown, Vera caught him with a flush head kick moments later, knocking him unconscious.

WINNER: Marlon Vera by KO at 2:17 of Round 4

Dominick Cruz largely looked fantastic throughout this fight, but Vera’s power was a difference maker, and he picked his spots perfectly, displaying patience and composure. Cruz was active and aggressive, and he was up on all three judge’s scorecards prior to the finish, but he could not replicate the power from Vera, and that ultimately decided this fight. Vera is now on a four-fight win streak, with a pair of highlight reel knockouts in there over a pair of legends of the sport in Frankie Edgar and Dominick Cruz. He has certainly emerged as one of the top contenders at bantamweight, although the results of the upcoming Jose Aldo/Merab Dvalishvili and Petr Yan/Sean O’Malley bouts may be more influential in terms of deciding the next title challenger, especially if Aldo defeats Dvalishvili next week.

About Eric Marcotte 184 Articles
A graduate of Laurentian University, Eric reports on Mixed Martial Arts at POST Wrestling.