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Marlon Vera knocks out former two-time champion Dominick Cruz at UFC San Diego

In the main event, the UFC’s #5 ranked 135-pounder, Marlon “Chito” Vera viciously knocked out the former bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz at Pechanga Arena. The volume was all on the side of Cruz. But it didn’t go in the favor of Cruz. Vera hurt Dominick on a few occasions before ultimately landing a killer kick putting him out cold in the fourth round.

Cruz was ahead on the cards of all three judges heading into the fourth round, 29-28, winning the first and second rounds. Cruz looked confident throughout the fight as he kept throwing his combination keeping Vera on the backfoot. But Vera had his moments too.

Vera dropped Cruz in the first, but Cruz was landing the cleaner, harder shots and using his superlative footwork to stay away from Vera's power for the most part. Cruz also had a couple of timely takedowns that kept Vera guessing.

The momentum changed in the third round when Vera dropped Cruz with a right hand roughly 90 seconds into the round. “Chito! Chito!” chants rained down, as they had earlier in the fight, despite Cruz fighting in his hometown. In the fourth, Vera caught Cruz coming in with a jab that dropped Cruz, too. Not long after, Vera connected with that highlight-reel head kick finish that instantly dropped him to the canvas. Vera ambushed for follow-up punches, and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight seconds later. It could be one of the best knockouts of the year in the UFC.

In his post-fight interview, Vera told the San Diego crowd that he respects their boy and revealed the secret behind the knockout. He gave the credit to his coach Jason Parillo who was able to catch Cruz off guard. Parillo instructed Vera in between rounds to "throw a bomb after your punches and you will find him." That is indeed what "Chito" did. Cruz tried to duck away to his right and Vera crushed him with a left head kick. The crowd didn't stay silent for very long, ultimately cheering the finish and Vera's post-fight speech.

The fight was a big one in the UFC bantamweight division. Marlon Vera is now on a 4-fight win streak which ultimately put him next for the title fight. But Chito must hold his horses as there is much going on in the bantamweight division. Aljamain Sterling is defending his title against T.J. Dillashaw in the co-main event at UFC 280 Abu Dhabi. Former champion Petr Yan is also facing Sean O’Malley under the same card.

There is a huge decision to be made by Dominick Cruz. Cruz is 2-2 in his last four fights. He returned to the cage once again for another run after several injuries. He might have some hunger in him left but it is not going well for the Dominator. He is currently 37 years old and would be looking to end his combat career on a good note.


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