Henry Cejudo. Cody Garbrandt. Urijah Faber. Those are some top-shelf bantamweights, and Marlon Vera has a chance to join their exclusive club this weekend.
The 135-pounders named above are the only three fighters who own victories over Dominick Cruz. All three of those losses came in title bouts for Cruz, who ruled the UFC and WEC bantamweight divisions for six years until 2016.
Vera gets his shot at Cruz on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in San Diego. The fights at Pechanga Arena are on ESPN and stream on ESPN+, with the 7 p.m. ET main card preceded by prelims at 4:30 p.m.
Vera (19-7-1) has won his last three fights, most recently a unanimous decision over Rob Font in April. Vera is No. 6 in the ESPN bantamweight rankings.
The 10th-ranked Cruz (24-3) has won two in a row after dropping consecutive fights to Garbrandt and Cejudo. He is coming off a unanimous decision over Pedro Munhoz in December.
Watch all of the fights on ESPN: WatchESPN | TV schedule
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There’s also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.
ESPN/ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET
Men’s bantamweight: Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz
Men’s featherweight: Nate Landwehr vs. David Onama
Strawweight: Yazmin Jauregui vs. Jasmin Lucindo
Light heavyweight: Devin Clark vs. Azamat Murzakanov
Women’s flyweight: Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes
Middleweight: Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bruno Silva
ESPN/ESPN+, 4:30 p.m. ET
Catchweight (120 pounds): Angela Hill vs. Loopy Godinez
Heavyweight: Martin Buday vs. Lukasz Brzeski
Lightweight: Gabriel Benitez vs. Charlie Ontiveros
Men’s flyweight: Ode’ Osbourne vs. Tyson Nam
Men’s bantamweight: Youssef Zalal vs. Da’Mon Blackshear
Women’s bantamweight: Ariane Lipski vs. Priscila Cachoeira
“Normally an older fighter who has taken damage over the years would be an obvious fade against a much younger, bigger knockout threat. But despite the inactivity of Cruz, we still have three fights in the last five years to pull from, and his wrestling remains an effective countermeasure against the skills Vera possesses.”
For Kuhn’s suggested bet on the main event and his advice on other fights on Saturday’s card, check out the ESPN+ expert picks and best bets article, published on Thursday. It also features analysis by an MMA coach and ESPN’s other betting expert, Ian Parker.
Dominick Cruz, Marlon Vera to headline UFC Fight Night in August
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