After fighting for the better part of a year, bantamweight contender Marlon Villa finally got a chance to call for a fight with Dominic Cruz in the UFC San Diego Main Event for most of last year. The pair faced off against top 15 contenders (Pedro Munhoz for Cruz and Rob Font for Vera) in their final battle The fighter in the night show, won the championship.
While it was Villa who fought before Saturday’s bantamweight bout, Dominic Cruz caught fire and handed the fight over to Villa. After an early attack on the foot, he would knock it out in about 90 seconds; Villa bounced back from both before shaking Cruz in his own attack, knocking the former champion down on a well-positioned left hook fist up.
Cruz got rid of that and the two settled down, Cruz working with both hands, making countless feints. Villa flashed a forward kick while Cruz kept his opponent guessing, mimicking a knee that never delivered. In the final minute of the round, Cruz hit the center of the octagon with a knockout, dab. That could have given Cruz an advantage in a competitive bout, but Villa nearly pinned him on the armrest, forcing Cruz to his feet.
Dominic Cruz found a home for his right hand at the start of the second round and fired a forward kick. He mixed things up and attacked Vera’s leg. Cruz displayed impressive accuracy on several exchanges in the first half, seemingly landing at random. Villa, however, moved on – but was unable to take advantage of his power by then.
Cruz’s movement? as good as before. This allowed him to go in, tear apart the body, land upstairs, and get out. Villa would land with his right hand, but in terms of volume, he was behind. Later in the round, Cruz changed levels, but this time, Villa was ready to expand and finished the attempt.
The third round awaits a faster exchange. Cruz continues to create space with his front kick. Then, 90 seconds later, Vera hit Cruz with a scorching right hand! Cruz looked to be in real trouble but was able to get Villa away from him and get back on his feet. Another knockout attempt by Cruz was tucked in for two minutes. Villa was clean after a while, but Cruz was able to get away with that. In the final two minutes, however, your seat is a fringe event: can Villa catch Cruz and win the game, or can the “rulers” survive?
Another knockout from Cruz was stuffed, and Cruz’s effort paid off as he put his elbow on his head. However, they will go into the fourth round, with Villa maintaining the momentum.
Cruz would land early in the fourth round, with his right hand letting Villa back, more off-balance than wobbly. But not long after, Villa’s left stab knocked Cruz down! Dominic stood up and waved a few times. The question in court is how many knockdowns did Dominic Cruz have? We found out moments later that Villa had ended the night of the former champions violently. The head kick is clean and the sound is reminiscent of the sound of a baseball bat connecting to a home run. Cruz kept ducking while kicking, making it worse, struggling to get up even after the fight was called.
Official result: Marlon Vera def. Dominic Cruz by KO (header), 4th round, 2:17