The UFC heads to San Diego, California for a bantamweight banger in the main event between Marlon Vera and former champion Dominick Cruz.
A 13-fight card that has got plenty of fire match ups on it is headlined by the two contenders in the 135-pound division, where a win could put them firmly in title contention for early 2023.
Last week a UFC Vegas 59 we went 7/10 with one perfect pick, moving to 690/1069 (64.55%) with 292 perfect picks (42.32%). You can see our full picks history here.
We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then moving on to the rest of the prelims picks, we finish up with our main card picks.
Bruno Silva (22-7) vs Gerald Meerschaert (34-15) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
If this fight goes the distance, I’ll eat my hat. Silva is a knockout artist with 19 wins via KO, including each of his last seven wins. His last win came over Jordan Wright at UFC 269 in just 88 seconds, although he lost his last fight to Alex Pereira via decision. Meerschaert is a stunning jiu-jitsu practitioner with 26 submission wins, including his last three although he also lost his last fight via decision.
Silva is an absolute powerhouse, stepping forward with pressure and lethal boxing combinations to send you into orbit. Meerschaert on the other hand is a brilliant grappler who wants the fight on the mat ASAP, because his striking is absolutely awful. The way this fight goes depends on if his chin holds up.
My bet is that it absolutely won’t. Silva is capable of eating big shots himself and Meerschaert isn’t the most powerful, so he’ll likely be open to taking one to give one. His grappling isn’t useless too and while he’s not on the same level “GM3”, he will be able to hold his own somewhat. It won’t get there though, because Silva takes his head off in the first.
PICK – Bruno Silva via Knockout, Round 1
Priscila Cachoeira (11-4) vs Ariane Lipski (14-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A very interesting women’s flyweight bout opens up the main card here. Lipski snapped a two-fight losing streak after KO defeats to Antonina Shevchenko (UFC 255) and Montana De La Rosa (UFC Vegas 28) when she beat Mandy Bohm last time out. Cachoeira has won three of her last four with KO wins over Shana Dobson (UFC Vegas 14) and Gina Mazany (UFC 262) as well as a decision last time out against Ji Yeon Kim. She was beaten by Gillian Robertson in the middle of that at UFC 269 via first-round submission.
Lipski is an effective Muay Thai striker with excellent technique, but her power is lacking and she tends to be relatively hesitant to throw. Cachoeira is the opposite, with incredible power and wild technique as she marches forward and takes one to give two. Lipski is by far the more technical, but that means little if she can’t keep Cachoeira away from her as she throws bombs.
Cachoeira will move forward through the lack of power and look to blast her head off with elbows and hooks. If they clinch then Cachoeira is big and strong enough to break away and if it goes to the ground then the Brazilian has the advantage there too. If it’s clean and tidy then Lipski has a chance, but Cachoeira fights rarely are so expect a nasty win.
PICK – Priscila Cachoeira via Knockout, Round 2
Devin Clark (13-6) vs Azamat Murzakanov (11-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
Light heavyweights go head-to-head in this one up next. Clark bounced back from two consecutive defeats to earn a knockout win over William Knight in his last bout, while Murzakanov is an unbeaten fighter with a flying knee KO win over Tafon Nchukwi in his UFC debut.
Clark is a classic wrestler, who will look to close distance and get on top of you on the mat to control you for 15 minutes. Eight of his 13 career wins have come via the judges. Murzakanov on the other hand is a wild man with incredible strking power, with eight wins via knockout in his career. This is a classic wrestler vs striker fight, but for once I favour the striker.
Clark has struggled big time in the past if he can’t get his wrestling going, and his conditioning has never been his greatest strength. Granted this is Murzakanov’s biggest test of his career, but his power means he can change the fight on it’s head in an instant and he’s capable of going for the full 15. He overcomes a tough first round to land big in the second and earn a big KO win.
PICK – Azamat Murzakanov via Knockout, Round 2
Yazmin Jauregui (8-0) vs Jasmin Lucindo (11-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
Two women making their UFC debuts on the main card is rare, but this one deserves it. Jauregui is undefeated with six knockout finishes, having made her name in Combate. Lucindo is on a seven-fight win streak with 10 finishes in her career, with three of her last five ending via knockout.
Jauregui is a super talented kickboxer with unbelievable speed and power in her kicks, while her punches carry clean technique and great pop considering the weight division. Lucindo is a grappler by nature with her amazing jiu-jitsu, but she’s also a good wrestler who looks to get into good positions and then rain down ground and pound strikes on her opponent hence the amazing record.
This is a really fun fight in all honesty, especially because both women will be relative unknowns to the majority of the audience. Lucindo will look for a body lock to close the distance and get the fight down, but the speed of Jauregui means she could easily get caught on the counter. Grappling is usually the key though if you can control where the fight goes, but something is telling me Jauregui gets the win here. It’ll be close and entertaining as heck though.
PICK – Yazmin Jauregi via Decision
Nate Landwehr (15-4) vs David Onama (10-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
Short-notice co-main event comes together in this one. Landwehr earned a big submission win over Ludovit Klein most recently, to make himself 2-2 in his last four. Onama made it 10 finishes in 10 wins in his career when he stopped Garrett Armfield via submission last month at UFC Vegas 58.
Landwehr is a strong wrestler with excellent submission skills off the mat, despite just one win via tap out in his career. He’s got good power in his hands too, but wrestling is where he tends to go in most of his fights. Onama on the other hand is a tremendous kickboxer with sensational power and speed, as well as picture perfect technique.
Onama needs to keep this simple to win. Keep distance, use his striking to do damage and be focused on avoiding prolonged grappling exchanges. Landwehr needs to make it a gruelling fight where he’s forcing Onama backwards and tiring him out. Onama is such a gifted athlete however and has the striking credentials to be able to do what he needs to do to claim a tidy decision win for the first time in his career.
PICK – David Onama via Decision
Marlon Vera (19-7-1) vs Dominick Cruz (24-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
Big time banger at bantamweight headlines this card. Vera is on a great run of three wins in a row since losing to Jose Aldo at UFC Vegas 17, with wins over Davey Grant, Frankie Edgar (UFC 268) and Rob Font most recently. Cruz recovered from his loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 to win his next two, beating both Casey Kenney (UFC 259) and Pedro Munhoz (UFC 269) via decision.
Vera is a super well-rounded fighter, with much improved striking skills on show in recent fights to go with some excellent submissions on the mat too. Cruz is an unorthodox striker with top level wrestling in his back pocket too, with super movement making it hard for opponents to get a read on him. Vera will almost certainly take the centre and pressure Cruz, who will look to counter and manoeuvre away from his opponent.
It will be a really fun and close fight, but it’s hard to go against Vera right now with the improvements he’s shown. He’s powerful, a hard kicker, a good grappler and a quick striker too. Cruz has the experience, but both guys are well matched up skill-wise and Vera is the younger and more physical fighter. Expect fireworks early before a cagey affair that Vera is able to claim on the scorecards by way of the bigger shots and more pressure.
PICK – Marlon Vera via Decision