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Photos from 2022 MMA | UFC Fight Night, San Diego, California fight Chito Vera v Cruz, Chito Vera win by leg kick knockout

Marlon Vera Knocks Out Dominick Cruz

Aug 152022

Chito does it again! Marlon Vera defeated Dominick Cruz at UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz in San Diego, California. In Saturday night’s headline fight in the bantamweight division, the 29-year-old from Chone, Ecuador, stopped his opponent by TKO in Round 4 to earn the UFC’s $50,000 Performance of the Night Bonus.

Vera (20-7-1) came to San Diego on a three-fight win streak after defeating Rob Font at UFC Vegas 53 in May 2022. On Saturday night, the upcoming Ecuadorian fighter faced the toughest challenge of his career to date. Vera’s opponent was no other UFC icon and former two-time bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (24-4). The hometown hero returned to fight in San Diego for the first time since 2009 and stepped into the Octagon having won his two most recent fights.

In the first round, Cruz brought the pressure by unloading fast combos and scoring a quick takedown, while Vera fired back with a left hook to drop the former champion. As the fight moved forward, Cruz kept landing the most significant strikes, but Vera waited patiently for openings, again dropping Cruz with a straight right hand to the face halfway through Round 2.


Despite Vera’s powerful attacks, Cruz kept moving to land precise shots and kicks, even after Vera landed a stunning right hand 90 seconds into the third round. As the fight went into Round 4, the scorecards clearly favored Cruz, who would ultimately maintain a 97-63 edge in significant shots over the course of the bout. 

However, this fight would not be decided by points. Once again, Vera proved his killer instinct by breaking through at the right moment. Early in Round 4, he wobbled his opponent with a stunning left hand out of nowhere. Vera then proceeded to end the fight suddenly with a precise left kick to the face that dropped Cruz to the canvas. With Cruz defenseless and bleeding from the hit, referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 2:17 of Round 4 with Vera as the winner by TKO.


“I came in with a plan and followed it. I knew he would be moving around a lot, trying to keep me guessing but I knew that I could catch him if I stayed solid and waited for the right moment. It came and I got it. I knew it was over right there. He was done,” said Vera after taking home the win.

Saturday’s stunning knockout extends Vera’s record for most finishes in UFC Bantamweight division history to ten. “Chito” Vera has now ended eight of his fights via knockout.

Hailing from Chone, Ecuador, Vera made his professional MMA debut in February 2012. Vera initially competed in regional promotions across Latin America before appearing as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America television show in 2014. The Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu‎ made his official UFC debut in 2014.


What’s next for Monster Energy’s “Chito” Vera? This recent victory puts Vera a decisive step closer to a title shot against current 135-pound champion Aljamin Sterling, who will be fighting TJ Dillashaw on September 10. After UFC Fight Night San Diego, Vera said he will be waiting for his chance: “I am in this sport to be a champion. At the end of the day, I can’t control who I fight or when I get a title shot so I just have to keep working, keep kicking and take it from there.”