Marlon Vera, better known by MMA fans as ‘Chito’ scored arguably the biggest win of his career at UFC San Diego on Saturday night.
Squaring off against former two-time bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, Vera was very patient in his approach to fighting ‘The Dominator.’ Throughout the first three rounds, Vera took a very measured approach but was able to knock down Cruz twice before connecting shin to chin, flatlining Cruz in the process. Appearing on the Michael Bisping Podcast, Marlon Vera discussed the victory with the former middleweight champion and Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith.
“It was a great weekend. It was a huge opportunity and I feel we capitalized and took advantage of it.”
you can see Cruz’s nose being broke on the kick. WILD pic.twitter.com/qJ2AXLzRGQ
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) August 14, 2022
When asked about his approach to the fight, Vera spoke about his game plan to bring pressure, pushing Cruz to the fence to find openings. Though ‘Chito’ wasn’t expecting to knock out the bantamweight icon in spectacular fashion, Vera believes the performance helped him to further evolve as he marches towards a potential world title opportunity.
“Going into the fourth, I was truly calm. I was very focused and I had the gas [tang] full and that type of pressure is just non-stop. I was in his face the whole time. I said it before, he’s at his best when you throw punches at him and you catch the fence and he [moves to] the other side.
“I wasn’t expecting the finish because I think if you chase it too much, you won’t get it. I would just throw and try to find those openings. Stay consistent and I feel like I did things better than I did in the past. I think I put out more combos in this fight, I think I punched a lot better with the counters. I feel like we [opened] another window to our game.”
Marlon Vera Says KO’ing Dominick Cruz Felt ‘Like a Drug’
When asked by Michael Bisping how Vera felt in the moment following the massive head kick that ended things in San Diego, the surging contender described it as feeling “like a drug.”
“It’s like the best feeling. It’s like a drug. When the kick landed, the sound of the kick, it made an impact on my ear and I could feel the energy going from my foot all the way up to my head. It was like, ‘boom’ and you know it’s over. That’s a wrap. I followed him to the ground just to make sure it’s a wrap, but it’s almost like you see the soul just leave the body right there.”
Marlon Vera extended his winning streak to four with the finish over Cruz in San Diego. With other notable wins coming against Sean O’Malley, Davey Grant, Frankie Edgar, and Rob Font, ‘Chito’ may very well be next in line for a bantamweight title opportunity. With No. 3 ranked Jose Aldo in action at UFC 278 and Aljamain Sterling set to defend his bantamweight championship against former titleholder TJ Dillashaw, things are certainly heating up in the division.