UFC San Diego: Vera vs. Cruz staff picks and predictions

The Bloody Elbow staff has made its picks for Saturday’s UFC San Diego event, and we have a slight lean towards Marlon Vera…

By: Mookie Alexander | 2 years
UFC San Diego: Vera vs. Cruz staff picks and predictions
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The Bloody Elbow staff has made its picks for Saturday’s UFC San Diego event, and we have a slight lean towards Marlon Vera to get the win over former champion Dominick Cruz in the highly anticipated main event. We’re unanimous on David Onama defeating Nate Landwehr in the co-main event.

To see the latest betting lines for these fights, head over to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Zane Simon entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.

Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz

Mookie Alexander: I’ve repeatedly picked against both of these fighters for a good while so my streak must end for one of them. Cruz is notoriously difficult to hit cleanly upstairs and if he can get his wrestling going against Vera, that will go a long way towards muting at least some of Marlon’s potent offense. Vera is also not a historically fast starter and Cruz tends to fight at his best as the fight progresses. Marlon is also way too content work off his back and that’s just not going to fly against Cruz… it almost didn’t fly against Edgar and I suspect a less washed Frankie would’ve taken that. Why am I picking Vera? He’s the most committed, aggressive low-kicker that Cruz has fought in ages and certainly since Dom returned from his latest injury layoff. Munhoz was way too content to box with Cruz and I think Vera is savvier than that. He’s also damn near impossible to discourage from throwing strikes and despite Cruz seemingly working on his power and throwing with stronger intentions than we’ve seen in the past, Vera is unlikely to respect what’s coming back at him even if it means eating three strikes to land one. If he establishes the kicks early that could hamper Dom’s movement and create other opportunities for Vera to attack. Not an easy fight to call but I’m going with Marlon Vera by decision.

Zane Simon: The complications of this fight come from the fact that both men should start out getting a lot of what they want, but that neither necessarily need that to win. Even the current, cast iron, heavy hitting version of Marlon Vera is still a slow starter who uses the opening round to find his timing and range and usually eats a lot of shots doing that. Give Cruz time and space and he’ll start forcing opponents into his rhythm. And once a fighter is there, it’s very very difficult to break that and get a win. In fact, I’d argue that nobody’s really ever done it. Vera could be the first. Even if his feet aren’t fast, his strikes are, and he’s got an ungodly ability to eat shots and deliver his own in a slowly cascading avalanche of pressure and violence. And Cruz is definitely getting older and losing a step of his once vaunted speed. But, he’s still damn crafty, and I haven’t seen him get broken in a fight where he sets the tone. I’ll pick him to have one last hurrah, even if things could get really hairy for him over 5 rounds with Vera. Dominick Cruz by decision.

Staff picking Vera: Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Connor
Staff picking Cruz: Dayne, Zane

Nate Landwehr vs. David Onama

Mookie Alexander: Landwehr’s a fun fighter but I fear his style is tailor-made for Onama to just wreck him standing. David Onama by KO, round 1.

Zane Simon: At the moment, David Onama has been an absolutely unbreakable force. He may be wild and unstructured, he may have obvious defensive gaps that opponents can find over and over. But it hasn’t resulted in him getting finished, and it never seems to slow him down. It’s the kind of fight I think Landwehr’s been trying to avoid more and more, now that he’s suffered a couple quick KO’s of his own, but used to be much more of a hallmark of his style back in Russia. I get the feeling Onama can draw the brawl out of Landwehr, and if he does, I’m more convinced that he survives to the finish line. David Onama by TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Landwehr:
Staff picking Onama: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Connor

Yazmin Jauregui vs. Iasmin Lucindo

Mookie Alexander: I am a bit confused as to why this fight is this high up the card. Yazmin Jauregui by decision, I guess?

Zane Simon: Two women with exceedingly one-dimensional games. Jauregui just wants to sit down and punch people in the pocket, Lucindo just wants to grab bodylocks and take people down. I’m much more covinced by Jauregui’s punching game than Lucindo’s takedowns, but this is a test for both women and their ability to stick with pretty limited styles. Yazmin Jauregui via decision.

Staff picking Jauregui: Dayne, Mookie, Zane, Connor, Stephie
Staff picking Lucindo:

Devin Clark vs. Azamat Murzakanov

Mookie Alexander: This fight could be a rough watch. Azamat Murzakanov by decision.

Zane Simon: Devin Clark may have a stiff and disconected wrestle-boxing game, but he sticks with it well and can do everything with power, even as he gets tired. Unfortunately, if we learned anything from Murzakanov’s UFC debut, it’s that he stays dangerous late into tough fights as well. And he has a habit of landing much cleaner. Seems like the kind of fight where Clark could get hurt bad in every round and finished in any of them. Azamat Murzakanov via KO, round 1.

Staff picking Clark: Dayne
Staff picking Murzakanov: Mookie, Zane, Connor, Stephie

Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes

Mookie Alexander: I’m just going to copy-and-paste what I wrote from UFC Vegas 58, when this fight was supposed to happen. Nunes has had some recent health problems and hasn’t fought in over a year. I’m not worried about her being at flyweight against Calvillo because it’s not like Calvillo is some especially imposing figure at 125. Calvillo’s game is just a disjointed mess at this point and while I can see her submitting Nunes with her slick grappling, it just doesn’t seem to be clicking for her anymore. Nina Nunes by decision.

Zane Simon: I really don’t like picking this fight. Nunes is trying to claw back her form a long layoff and the serious physical strain of having a child, and Cynthia Calvillo is just struggling hard. Eventually, if I just look at the core games that both women have built over time, however, I gotta lean toward Nunes. She spent years working to shore up her takedown defense, so that she could play a fairly steady-paced power-punching style. For Calvillo, she invested years into a busy out-boxing game that seems to have gotten her more and more disconnected from functional offense as the years went by. I think that Andrade loss was a hard wake-up call, but we’re still waiting to see if she can switch things up. That seems like the bigger question to me than whether or not Nunes can fight like she did a couple years ago. Nina Nunes by decision.

Staff picking Calvillo: Dayne, Victor
Staff picking Nunes: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Connor

Bruno Silva vs. Gerald Meerschaert

Mookie Alexander: Silva’s history of getting submitted doesn’t sit well with me against someone as crafty as Meerschaert, but everything else favors Blindado. The Brazilian is the better striker, more powerful, more athletic, and to counter my opening statement most of his submission losses were also early in his career. This just feels like one where if Gerald doesn’t find an opportunity and seize it right away, he’s going to get starched. Bruno Silva by TKO, round 1.

Zane Simon: For a fighter whose style is largely based on surviving really bad first rounds and slowly grinding his way back into a late submission win, this just seems like the most miserable kind of matchup. Bruno Silva via KO round 1.

Staff picking Silva: Dayne, Mookie, Victor, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Meerschaert:

Angela Hill vs. Loopy Godinez

Mookie Alexander: I’m making a pick that is partially “I like Angela Hill” and partially “I’ll believe it when I see it” because while Godinez is a promising talent, she’d also be the worst/least notable fighter Hill has lost to in a good while. The obvious problem for Hill would be Godinez’s pressure and wrestling. On the flip side you have Hill’s volume striking and she’s just way more effective on the feet than Loopy is. Also when Godinez’s wrestling hasn’t worked for an entire fight it has resulted in two UFC losses already. I’ll gamble on Angela Hill by decision.

Zane Simon: The key question of this fight is, can Godinez out-wrestle Angela Hill for the better part of two rounds? If she can, she’ll win. She looked like an absolute monster last time out against Carnelossi, but Carnelossi’s a lot more raw than Hill. And she flagged hard after a good start against Luana Carolina. On the other hand, Hill does regularly get taken down, and just is not the most physically imposing athlete at 115. I think the size was a huge factor in Godinez’s loss to Carolina, just as the grappling was with Penne. If Hill doesn’t offer either of those problems, I think this is a fight Godinez can sneak out, probably by contentious split decision. Loopy Godinez by Split Decision.

Staff picking Hill: Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Connor
Staff picking Godinez: Dayne, Zane


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 55%

    Marlon Vera

    (296 votes)

  • 44%

    Dominick Cruz

    (240 votes)

536 votes total

Vote Now

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About the author
Mookie Alexander
Mookie Alexander

Mookie is a former Associate Editor for Bloody Elbow, leaving in August 2022 after ten years as a member of the staff. He's still lurking behind the scenes.

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