MMA

UFC on ESPN 41: Dominick Cruz vs Marlon Vera Picks, Predictions, Odds

Marlon Vera vs Dominick Cruz
August 13, 2022 9:15 pm EDT
The Line: Dominick Cruz +205 / Marlon Vera -240
(Click here for latest betting odds)

Marlon Vera and Dominick Cruz fight Saturday in UFC on ESPN 41 at the Pechanga Arena. Vera enters this fight with a 19-7-1 record and is winning 42 percent of his fights by submission. Cruz enters this fight with a 24-3 record and is winning 67 percent of his fights by decision.

Vera has won 9 of his last 11 fights and is coming off an April win over Rob Font. Vera is averaging 4.33 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 51 percent. He is averaging 0.73 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 42 percent. Vera is coming off a decision win at UFC on ESPN 35 where he landed 167 total strikes and ate 273 total strikes. The bout earned fight of the night honors, the third straight fight Vera has earned a bonus. Chito is now looking for his fourth straight victory. Vera is an athletic, jumpy fighter who is tough to get comfortable against on the feet, and he throws compact strikes with pop behind them. Vera is a black belt in BJJ, and he’s never been finished in his career, despite 7 losses. An exciting fighter with 15 career finishes, Vera is going to put on a show regardless of result. You almost never see somebody with 27 fights and has never been finished. This will be Vera’s second career fight in California, his current residence.

Cruz has won 8 of his last 10 fights and is coming off a December win over Pedro Munhoz. Cruz is averaging 3.82 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 33 percent. Cruz is averaging 2.88 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 43 percent. Cruz is coming off a decision win at UFC 269 where he landed 105 total strikes and produced a takedown. The victory earned fight of the night honors, and Cruz has now seen each of his last 4 wins go the distance. Cruz now looks for 3 straight wins for the first time since 2014-16. Cruz will soon be 37 years old and is looking to prove there’s something left in the tank. Considered one of the best in the division, Cruz is a terrific striker with great footwork and head movement, and he has a career 7 knockouts. A blue belt in BJJ, Cruz also comes from a wrestling background and has a high level takedown defense. This will be Cruz’s third career fight in California.

Cruz and plus money is always worth a look, but we’re talking about a fighter who has just 3 bouts under his belt since 2016. I need to see more from Cruz before I just assume he’s back to being the guy we’re used to seeing. Vera has had a consistent schedule, he’s on a nice little tear as of late, and he’s the more accurate striker of the two. Throw in his ability to switch stances, and it’s hard to bet against Vera in this fight.

Give me Vera, and I’ll side with him in distance to shave down the juice.

Randy Chambers's Free Pick:
Marlon Vera Inside Distance

Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA.
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