Marlon Vera put a sudden end to his close bantamweight main event battle against Dominick Cruz in the fourth round, knocking him out cold with a head kick.
Vera’s victory headlined a card from the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California, USA.
Vera scored a perfectly-timed head kick to Cruz in the fourth round, connecting with the shot while Cruz attempted to move to his right, away from an exchange.
Vera landed a few shots to a hurt Cruz on the ground before the fight was stopped.
Prior to the finish, Vera was engaged in a close fight on the feet against Cruz.
Cruz maintained a solid output of strikes earlier in the fight, coming forward with combinations of punches. As is often the case with Vera, he was slow-starting and needed more than a round before he settled into his groove.
Vera secured the bigger moments in the bout, connecting with a trio of knockdowns prior to his fourth-round finish.
The victory on Saturday night continued Vera’s climb up the bantamweight rankings. He is now on a four-fight winning streak, including a main event victory over Rob Font from earlier this year, and a highlight reel front kick knockout against Frankie Edgar from 2021.
Cruz was placed in the main event after a strong comeback year in 2021, returning to the win column with victories over Casey Kenney and Pedro Munhoz.
Landwehr Puts On Instant Classic Against Onama
In what was undoubtedly a “Fight of the Year” contender, Nate Landwehr went three unpredictable rounds against David Onama for a majority decision victory at featherweight
Landwehr had to overcome large amounts of adversity for the win, battling past low points and making the most of his stronger parts of the fight.
Onama’s best moment came early, dropping Landwehr hard with a punch during the opening round. Despite the dramatic moment, Landwehr recovered on the ground and took full guard before the round concluded.
Landwehr took control of the battle in the second frame, unloading on the feet against a visibly fatiguing Onama. The tiredness of Onama caused him to consume large amounts of damage in this round, although Landwehr’s attack started to slow as well, lowering his chances of making a successful push for a finish.
A cocky yet tired Landwehr started to play to the crowd in the final round, although wailing shots from Onama were able to get through still and cause trouble during the round.
The live crowd became unglued near the end of the fight, with many fans getting out of their seats once the final round concluded.
Landwehr has now scored three wins and two losses in the UFC.
Landwehr’s appearance saw him soak up an environment that he wasn’t used to. Saturday marked the first time that he appeared on a UFC card that wasn’t held behind closed doors or in front of a limited audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
His previous fight was in October 2021, when he submitted Ludovit Klein with a rear naked choke.
Newcomer Jauregui Gains Attention For Strong UFC Debut
UFC newcomers Yazmin Jauregui and Iasmin Lucindo impressed many during their three-round showing on Saturday’s main card.
Jauregui walked away with the decision win in the end, earning the victory through a hard-fought stand-up performance. Jauregi connected with cracking with punches at times, although there was plenty on the return from Lucindo.
Many billed the fight as a showcase of two future talents in the strawweight division. Part of this is due to the fact that Jauregi is 23 years old, and Lucindo is 20 – currently making her the youngest name on the UFC roster.
Jauregi’s record is now a flawless nine wins as a pro. Three of those wins came from a one-night tournament that she won under the Combate Global banner last year.
Lucindo had a seven-fight winning streak on the regional scene before her UFC debut this weekend.
Undefeated Murzakanov Stops Clark
Azamat Murzakanov kept his undefeated record alive on Saturday’s main card, securing a late finish against Devin Clark.
It was a body shot from Murzakanov that earned him a finish in the third round. Coming forward with a combination of shots, a left hook to the body from Murzakanov connected cleanly and caused Clark to drop to the canvas.
After an extended period of time that saw Murzakanov land ground and pound punches, the referee stepped in to end the fight.
The fight was mostly a stand-up battle prior to the finish, with Murzakanov being ahead earlier in the match as well.
Murzakanov now has a flawless pro record of 13 wins. He won his UFC debut in his previous fight, earning a finish over Tafon Nchukwi in March.
Cachoeira Gets The Best of Hectic Battle
Priscila Cachoeira prevailed in a fast brawl against Ariane Lipski, finishing her in just over a minute with punches.
The bantamweight talents engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of punches right off the bat in their fight. Cachoeira was able to connect with a punch that dropped Lipski.
Lipski, possibly rocked by punches, covered up on the ground until the referee stepped in to end the fight.
The win added to a strong year for Cachoeira. The flyweight previously beat Kim Ji-yeon in February, earning a “Fight of the Night” award for that performance.
Lipski has now lost three of her past five pro fights. Her previous appearance was a decision victory over Mandy Bohm in 2021.
Meerschaert Bounces Back Against Silva
Gerald Meerschaert showcased a mix of striking and grappling skills on Saturday night, stunning Bruno Silva on the feet and then submitting him with a guillotine choke.
Meerschaert earned a knockdown in the third round with a clean left hook to the head of Silva. After attempting some ground and pound, Meerschaert slipped in a guillotine choke to cause a tap.
“He was too tough for me to knock him out. He was still there, so I had to get that neck,” said Meerschaert in his post-fight interview.
Meerschaert was one step ahead of Silva earlier in the fight as well, proving to have sharper striking and mixing takedowns into his gameplan as well.
The middleweight bout saw both talents attempting to bounce back from a recent loss.
Meerschaert suffered a scorecard loss in April against Krzysztof Jotko. He had a strong 2021 before then, earning three finish wins in the year.
After his victory, Meerschaert asked for a fight against “The Ultimate Fighter” alum Andre Petroski – a name that has previously called him out.
Silva suffered his first UFC defeat earlier this year, losing a unanimous decision to Alex Pereira. Before then, he had three consecutive wins in the promotion.
The Rest of the Card
Angela Hill returned to the win column in the final prelim, putting on a fast-paced striking battle against Loopy Godinez for a unanimous decision.
Martin Buday picked up his second UFC win on the prelims, sneaking by Lukasz Brzeski via split decision.
After defeating Cynthia Calvillo via split decision and earning her first win since 2018, Nina Nunes announced her retirement from MMA.
Gabriel Benitez snapped a two-fight skid on Saturday night, using ground and pound to finish Charlie Ontiveros in the first round. Ontiveros has now lost all three of his UFC fights.
Appearing for the first time after more than a year outside of the cage, Tyson Nam scored a first-round finish win against Ode Osbourne. Nam first dropped Osbourne with a hard right hook, then closed out the bout with ground and pound.
Josh Quinlan earned an explosive knockout win in his UFC debut, dropping Jason Witt in the first round with a left hook. Quinlan’s record is now an undefeated six wins.
Da’Mon Blackshear went the distance against Youssef Zalal in his UFC debut, settling for a majority draw in the end. While likely not the result that he wanted, the fight on Saturday also snapped a three-fight losing streak for Zalal.
Main Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 2)
Bout 13: Marlon Vera def. Dominick Cruz via TKO, Strikes (RD 4, 2:17)
Bout 12: Nate Landwehr def. David Onama via Decision, Majority
Bout 11: Yazmin Jauregui def. Iasmin Lucindo via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 10: Azamat Murzakanov def. Devin Clark via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 1:18)
Bout 9: Priscila Cachoeira def. Ariane Lipski via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:05)
Bout 8: Gerald Meerschaert def. Bruno Silva via Submission Guillotine Choke (RD 3, 1:39)
Preliminary Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 2)
Bout 7: Angela Hill def. Loopy Godinez via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 6: Martin Buday def. Lukasz Brzeski via Decision, Split
Bout 5: Nina Nunes def. Cynthia Calvillo via Decision, Split
Bout 4: Gabriel Benitez def. Charlie Ontiveros via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:55)
Bout 3: Tyson Nam def. Ode Osbourne via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:59)
Bout 2: Josh Quinlan def. Jason Witt via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:09)
Bout 1: Youssef Zalal vs. Da’Mon Blackshear via Decision, Majority Draw