The UFC takes over San Diego this weekend for UFC Fight Night as future Hall of Famer Dominick Cruz faces off against the streaking Marlon “Chito” Vera in a main even that is sure to contend for fight of the year. In the co-main event, Nate Landwehr and David Onama face off in a fight scheduled for three rounds, but I have a feeling it will more than likely only need one to declare the winner.
From a betting perspective, this card has a lot of potential and features a lot of new faces and names that may not be well known just yet. Below, I break down the fights I found the best value on from a betting perspective as well as give leans on the fights I have an opinion about but wouldn’t necessarily place a bet on. All of the odds are per BetMGM.
Vera vs. Cruz Odds
Marlon Vera -225, Dominick Cruz +160
Cruz is 24-3-0 overall in his career and after three ACL surgeries has fought his way back into the top of the bantamweight division. For many years, he reigned supreme at the top of the division, using his unique style of fighting and footwork to keep challengers guessing. Now a new challenger steps into the ring, bringing his own unique aggressive style of fighting that is sure to test the former champion.
Vera is 21-7-1 and on a three-fight winning streak, having fought last in April. Last time out, Vera proved that he didn’t need to throw more volume than his opponent to cause damage and almost find a finish. Vera landed somewhere in the neighborhood of 160-plus strikes in his last fight, a fight that was set to be the toughest test to date against a really good boxer and power puncher Rob Font. Font landed nearly double the amount of strikes compared to Vera in their fight, and still Vera walked through the fire to cause significant damage. The fight against Font showed the world how durable and dangerous Vera truly can be, He’s a fighter that doesn’t mind causing chaos and making the fight ugly, something he is going to have to do this weekend if he plans on slowing down the movement and footwork of Cruz.
From a betting perspective I see this fight going well for Cruz early, perhaps winning the first round with a lot of volume and movement, but as the fight goes on into the later rounds, that is where vera excels and can make it dangerous for Cruz. We have seen Cruz in dangerous situations in the past and if it weren’t for his experience and toughness he would’ve been finished. For example, in the fight against Pedro Munhoz, Cruz was causing problems for Munhoz with his footwork and movement and landing a lot of volume. Yet, when Munhoz was able to touch Cruz, he almost ended the fight and dropped Cruz twice in the first round. Cruz may push more pace and volume in this fight against Vera, but with the power and aggressive style of Vera, Cruz may have found his kryptonite.
Cruz has to stay perfect for five rounds and limit the damage coming from Vera, if this were a three-round fight, I would find it difficult for Vera to find his momentum and keep up with Cruz. This being a five-round fight favors Vera in my opinion because he tends to find his pace and momentum later in fights and carries power well throughout the fight. Cruz may come on strong early and will have to incorporate his wrestling to limit the number of times he stands in the booth and fights with fire but in the end, I believe Vera will either find a finish late in the fight or win by decision.
Bet: Marlon Vera in Round 4/5 or by decision +105/Live bet after Round 1
Onama vs. Landwehr Odds
David Onama -300, Nate Landwehr +240
A long-time veteran of the sport, Landwehr brings an in-your-face style of fighting that may get him into trouble this weekend against the powerful and calculated Onama. Still young in his UFC career, Onama is no stranger in the cage and is 10-1-0 overall so far as a pro. He made his debut in the UFC and made a name for himself instantly when he stepped on short notice to fight current UFC star Mason Jones. In that fight, Onama showed how durable and powerful he can be, almost finishing Jones multiple times and derailing the hype train before it ever left the station. It was the only fight in his career that has gone to the judges and in the two fights that followed his debut he continued to find finishes against Gabriel Benitez and Garrett Armfield.
From a betting perspective, I will be siding with Onama in this fight, who has a height and reach advantage of two inches, and I believe that after weathering the storm brought by Landwehr can find and early finish in either the first or second round. Both fighters average over 5.50 Strikes landed per minute with about 50% accuracy and Nate will perhaps try and wrestle as he averages 1.09 takedowns per fight. Yet the biggest difference between the two is the power that Onama possesses, and I believe that will be the difference.
Bet: David Onama in Round 1 or 2 +105
Jauregui vs. Lucindo Odds
Iasmin Lucindo +165, Yazmin Jauregui -200
Two newcomers to the UFC, Jauregui and Lucindo make their debut this weekend. In a classic grappler vs. striker fight, these strawweights do not shy away from looking for a finish when they fight. Both standing at 5-foot-3, the reach advantage goes to Lucindo by two inches, but as the grappler in this matchup she won’t necessarily be using that advantage. Both fighters are still very young and career and with limited tape out there to study the fighters I wouldn’t recommend betting this fight but will lean with Jauregui to either find a finish early or win by decision. Jauregui should be able to stuff the takedown attempts and keep this fight standing where she will find success and possibly a stoppage in the very first round.
Bet: No bet/Lean Jauregui
Clark vs. Murzakanov Odds
Devin Clark +125, Azamat Murzakanov -145
Murzakanov was originally supposed to be in the UFC back in 2017, but an injury and a USADA suspension kept him away from the promotion until his recent debut on the Contender Series in 2021. In that fight, Murzakanov displayed patience and a masterful use of his striking to close the distance and find a first-round KO finish against the taller and much bigger Matheus Scheffel. Clark is coming down from heavyweight for this fight and similar to Scheffel will be the bigger fighter, having both height and reach advantages.
With a four-inch reach advantage, you’d expect Clark to use his reach to keep distance and steer clear of the power Murzakanov possesses. Yet Clark fights with a wrestling-heavy style that depends on him keeping his opponents up against the cage and eventually onto the ground where he can dominate and find a ground and pound finish. Clark averages 2.48 takedowns per fight, and I expect him to continue that trend. Still, I don’t think it will be enough to beat Murzakanov; as a master of sambo and just an overall world class martial artist, he will keep this fight standing and find a finish in this fight. I see this fight going similarly to how the Cutelaba/Clark fight went, where Clark attempted and even landed a takedown on Cutelaba, but when Cutelaba connected with his power, Clark was dropped and almost finished on multiple occasions. I think Murzakanov finds the finish early and continues onto to 12-0-0 as a professional.
Bet: Murzakanov ML -155/Murzakanov ITD +120
Lipski vs. Cachoeira Odds
Ariane Lipski -200, Priscila Cachoeira +160
Lipski and Cachoeira were originally slated to fight on UFC Vegas 59, but after not making weight, Lipski wasn’t medically cleared and the fight was moved to the main card at UFC San Diego. Usually in women’s MMA you can bet the fight to go the distance and win almost 70-80% of the time. But these two fighters are always looking for the finish and I don’t see them doing anything different this weekend. Cachoeira is the owner of one of the most controversial decisions in recent history when she was visibly beaten up badly by Yi Jeon Kim and somehow won by unanimous decision, leaving the MMA community in an uproar. It is because of that fight that I fade most women’s MMA fights now. and I will be continuing that trend here. I have no official bet and will just sit back and enjoy the queen of violence do work. If I were to place a bet, it would be on Lipski as I think she is more technically sound everywhere and has more tools and paths to victory.
Bet: No bet/Lean FGTD -145
Meerschaert vs. Silva Odds
Gerald Meerschaert +240, Bruno Silva -300
Meerschaert is 34-15-0 standing at 6-foot-1 with a 77-inch reach and his main paths to victory have mainly been on the ground where he dominates his opponents and usually finds a submission or ground and pound submission. Yet during his UFC career, Meerschaert has been deemed the underdog king as similar to light heavyweight Paul Craig, he can be down on the score cards and still manage to find a finish at any moment during the fight. Fighting out of a new camp for this fight, Meerschaert lost his last fight and is toward the tail end of his career, which could be an indication that he will perhaps be a bit cautious compared to earlier fights in his career and will fight with more wisdom against Silva.
Silva is 22-7-0 and 6-foot-0 with a 74-inch reach and averages just over 8:27 of fight time. Silva also has a black belt in jiujitsu but doesn’t get to display his grappling chops as he usually finds the finish with his hands. He also has a really good gas tank and is extremely durable as it was displayed against the new middleweight title challenger Alex Pereira.
Meerschaert will probably have to keep this fight up against the cage and keep Silva busy to limit the amount of damage he can cause. Silva will have to use the opportunities in space to not overreach on strikes and find a finish against a sometimes chinny Meerschaert. From a betting perspective, I will be betting Silva to win and find a finish inside the distance.
Bet: Silva ITD -170
Hill vs. Godinez
Angela Hill +240, Lupita Godinez -300
Hill is a veteran in the UFC and has shown flashes of championship contention but has never gotten over the hump and has recently slumped and is currently on a three-fight losing streak. This fight is at a catchweight of 120 pounds and in my opinion will be a good fight for Godinez to get a win over a notable fighter and continue to rise her stock in the UFC. A fairly active fighter, Godinez is 8-2-0 and had four fights for the UFC in 2021, which is also the year she made her debut. In this fight against an aging and closer-to-the-end-of-her-career Hill, Godinez’s clear path to victory will be to attack the 31% takedown defense of Hill and dominate for all three rounds. I don’t think she can necessarily finish Hill, although it’s not out of the realm of possibility, I just think Hill’s experience will get her out of the frying pan but not out of the fire and she will end up losing unanimously on the score cards. Give me Godinez to win in Round 3 or by decision or at slightly better odds to simply win by a three-round decision.
Bet: Godinez in Round 3 or decision -190/Godinez by decision -154
Buday vs. Brzeski Odds
Martin Buday -290, Lukasz Brzeski +220
Two alumni of the Contender Series, both fighters come into this fight relatively new to the UFC fanbase. Buday is 6-foot-4 with a 77-inch reach advantage and averages 4.77 strikes landed per minute at a 72% accuracy rate. He also has a 50% defensive rate only absorbing an average of 2.17 strikes per minute. With a grinding style that wears his opponents out early, Buday has only gone to decision in three of 11 pro fights — every other time, he has found the finish in Round 1 or 2.
Brzeski is similar to Buday in size and has a one-inch reach advantage in this fight. Still, oddly enough, when you see both of these fighters stand next to each other, Lukasz seems to be the smaller fighter, which leads me to believe that the stats on paper could be slightly off when in terms of height and size. Brzeski does boast a higher output and better accuracy percentage when it comes to striking and also does look to take the fight to the ground an average of 2.17 times per fight. My main concern with Brzeski is with his gas tank that seems to be very limited to the opening minutes of a fight. Watching the tape on Brzeski, there were times when he was gassed after the first two minutes of a fight and even quit on the stool in between rounds. I usually wouldn’t bet a messy greasy fight such as this but with the gas tank issue Brzeski possesses I will be betting Buday to find a finish early in either Round 1 or 2. It can very well turn into a sloppy and ugly fight that finds its way to the cards, but I just don’t see the gas tank of Brzeski holding up in this fight.
Bet: Buday in Rounds 1 or 2 +125/Buday by KO/TKO or sub -110
Nunes vs. Calvillo Odds
Nina Nunes +145, Cynthia Calvillo -175
I wish I could talk about this fight with some sort of excitement, but nothing about these two really motivates me to even find the value in this fight. Nunes at +145 would be where I can possibly see the value as the better striker. Nunes should be able to fend of the takedowns of Calvillo and find her way to a win and even possibly a finish. As the underdog in this fight, I feel that the only reason Nunes is priced as an underdog is because of the time she spends away from the octagon and whether she is still motivated to make a run for a title. Calvillo in my opinion is on her way out of the UFC and with a loss this weekend may very well find herself on only fans full time instead of part time like she currently is doing on the side, which is a clear indication that she may not be all in anymore on her career in the UFC. No bet for me here but I will lean with Nunes to get back in the win column in San Diego.
Bet: No bet/Lean Nunes +145
Benitez vs. Ontiveros Odds
Gabriel Benitez -350, Charlie Ontiveros +260
Two very hard-hitting prospects, both of these lightweights bring a similar reach, but Ontiveros is taller by nearly five inches. Benitez averages 4.60 strikes landed per minute and has one of the most powerful leg kicks in the sport, a tool that can be of good use in this fight against Ontiveros, who seems to lack durability in terms of gas tank, but instead his mindset seems to waver once he’s hurt. Ontiveros has been stopped by knees to the belly and has also verbally quit in the UFC after being slammed on his neck by Kevin Holland. Ontiveros has even quit on the stool on the regional scene, which leaves you to question why he’s even in the UFC, but against the sometimes chinny Benitez, perhaps Ontiveros can implement some of his power and gameplan before eventually getting stopped. I will never take Benitez at a -350 price tag and will not even consider him for any parlays either as he can at times be very untrustworthy in fights. Still possibilities for this fight to end by a Benitez KO are high and even higher are the chances that this fight never even reaches the third round let alone the judges.
Bet: Benitez by KO/TKO -140/FDGTD -275 as a parlay piece
Osbourne vs. Nam Odds
Ode Osbourne -275, Tyson Nam +210
This fight should be pretty straightforward, as Nam doesn’t bring much diversity when he steps into the ring but does look for the finish with his powerful overhand right. Nam has a little over 10 minutes of fight time with an average of 3.64 strikes landed per minute at a 31% rate of accuracy. He is not the type of fighter that looks to game plan and at the ripe old age of 38 and toward the tail end of his career, I don’t expect him to change his stand-and-bang approach. With a 73-inch reach, Osbourne comes into this fight with a five-inch reach advantage that should keep him on the outside and away from the power of Nam. From a betting perspective, I expect Osbourne to avoid Nam’s power shots and find a finish in Round 1 or 2. Osbourne averages 4.82 strikes landed per minute and against the poor defense of Nam I expect that to make the difference in this fight.
Bet: Osbourne Wins ITD +120
Witt vs. Quinlan Odds
Josh Quinlan -225, Jason Witt +210
Quinlan and Witt were slated to fight at UFC Vegas 59 but were rescheduled last minute onto the prelims of UFC San Diego. After his 47-second knockout win on the Contender Series last year, Quinlan is making his debut under the UFC banner. He debuts against Witt, who also possess finishing ability but does not show much durability and in all of his losses in the UFC have come by way of stoppage. Against a berserker like Quinlan, I expect this fight to be simple and short like this breakdown and I will be betting Quinlan to win inside the distance at -185 and will also take a stab at him finishing in the first round at +150 odds.
Bets: Quinlan ITD -138/Quinlan in Round 1 +160
Zalal vs. Blackshear Odds
Youssef Zalal -125, Da’Mon Blackshear +105
A classic striker/grappler matchup, this fight is one of the only fights on the card where the odds are near a pick ’em. Blackshear is 12-4-0 and stands at 5-foot-10 with a 72-inch reach, with 8 submission wins in his pro career. He is not shy about his gameplan of getting the fight to the ground and looking for the finish. Fighters like Blackshear who are very durable and grapple well have been the kryptonite for Zalal in the past.
Zalal is coming down in weight class for this fight and was last in the octagon a little over a year ago now, which could be a problem against Blackshear who last fought in May. Experience inside the UFC and the better striking prowess is why I believe Zalal Is the slight favorite here, because in terms of level of competition Blackshear has experience with fighters like Danny Sabatello, Pat Sabatini and Kris Moutinho who some can argue would give Zalal trouble or even beat him. From a betting perspective I will be taking a stab at the underdog in Blackshear and will also take this fight to go the distance in a parlay at a -200-price tag.
Bet: Da‘Mon Blackshear ML +105/FGTD -200