Dominick Cruz’s approach is extremely low level and not the best approach for MMA

Dominick Cruz’s approach is extremely low level and not the best approach for MMA

Cruz needed some time to be knocked out for good, but by the fourth round “Chito” had Cruz under control and finished the UFC San Diego main event with a vicious head kick that placed Cruz face-down on the canvas. Vera, who began the weekend as the No. 7 bantamweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, recorded her fourth straight victory.

At the evening’s post-fight press conference, Vera was asked if there was anything about Cruz’s unique standup style that confused him, and he downplayed the difficulty of the matchup.

“Honestly, me and my team, we really think the way he fights is kind of very low level,” Vera said. “There’s no base, there’s no good stance, all that movement side to side — we told each other, ‘We have to kick this guy’s ass.’ But by saying that, you put a lot of pressure on yourself.

“I just think his fighting technique isn’t the best for MMA. Perhaps it might work better in boxing, but there are far too many weapons in MMA. He blends takedowns with that movement, which is what he does well. At that point, he is successful. We were quite confident, but we knew this battle wouldn’t be simple because I thought it would be difficult for him to knock me down.

Marlon Vera: Dominick Cruz's approach is "extremely low level" and "not the best manner for MMA," according to him.
Marlon Vera: Dominick Cruz’s approach is “extremely low level” and “not the best manner for MMA,” according to him.

Cruz has won championships in the UFC and the WEC, and his career highlights include a 24-4 record. He is renowned for his evasiveness and toughness, and prior to his battle with Vera, he had only suffered one knockout loss. Cruz vigorously contested that defeat, a TKO loss to Henry Cejudo in the second round at UFC 249. However, there was no disputing the result on Saturday.

Vera actually had Cruz hurt on a couple of occasions earlier in the bout, but he exercised caution as opposed to rushing in for a finish.

“I was just being patient, I was taking my time,” Vera said. “I dropped him in the first round, and when I dropped him I didn’t go crazy. I didn’t try to chase the finish, I never chase the finish. I don’t have any problems standing in front of you and finding those openings.

Vera continued, “He comes in pretty fantastic shape. You can get back up when you’re in condition, and he can scramble very well. Therefore, the first thing that came to mind when I dropped him for the first time in the first round was what transpired during the [Cruz vs. Pedro] Munoz fight. I simply reminded myself, “I’ve got f* four more rounds to break this guy,” since Munoz rushed the finish and then kind of left everything in the first round. I told him, “Just keep concentrated, and you will get him. This thing (points to head) is a mothers.”

 Marlon Vera had Dominick Cruz's
Marlon Vera had Dominick Cruz’s

With the impressive knockout, Vera extended his record for the most finishes in UFC bantamweight history to 10. His past three wins have come against ranked opponents (Cruz, Rob Font, Frankie Edgar) and he has one of the strongest cases for a title shot in his division.

However, there are several contenders in the same range, including the likes of Petr Yan, Sean O’Malley, Jose Aldo, and Merab Dvalishvili, all of whom are set to compete in the upcoming months and could block Vera’s path to a title. Not to mention the bantamweight champion himself, Aljamain Sterling, who next defends his title against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280 in October. Vera plans to keep a close eye on his peers and how the title picture develops.

Vera declared, “I watch every UFC fight from top to bottom. “I’m watching, regardless of who is fighting or whether it is the first or last bout of the evening. I enjoy watching. I enjoy providing analysis because I am watching in real time. I can feel the tension in the argument and observe what is happening. I’ll pay close attention and watch to see who gets the next gift.

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