Dominick Cruz has never lost a non-title fight, and the former champion will look to keep that streak alive on Saturday when he takes on veteran Marlon Vera in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz. The battle of ranked contenders, with a potential title in store for the winner, tops the UFC’s main fight card (7 p.m. ET) from Pechanga Arena in San Diego. Cruz’s distinguished career includes the UFC bantamweight title twice and three losses in 17 years of mixed martial arts, all of which came with a belt on the line. He lost to Henry Cejudo and Cody Garbrandt for the UFC belt and is fell to Uriah Faber in the WEC promotion in 2007. Now ranked No. 8, he could secure another title with a win at UFC San Diego over No. 5-ranked Vera, who could make his own case for his first title bid with a signature win.
Vera is a -250 favorite (risk $250 to win $100), while Cruz is a +210 underdog in Caesars Sportsbook’s latest UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz odds. The co-main event features featherweight prospects as David Onama (-290) meets Nate Landwehr (+245). Before locking in any UFC Fight Night pick: Vera vs. Cruz, be sure to check out MMA predictions and betting tips from SportsLine expert Andrew Gombas.
Gombas is a former NCAA wrestler who draws on his experience on the mat to help understand and dissect the Xs and O’s of MMA matchups in a way that sets him apart from other MMA analysts. He launched MMA handicapping service MMA Knockout Bets in 2018 and has turned a profit every year since.
With over 1,400 caps tracked by third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, it has shown a 6% return on investment for its subscribers. Over the past two years, his followers have made a profit of over $10,000.
At UFC 275 in June, Gombas swept the board with his main card picks and the five-fight sweep included telling SportsLine members to back Jake Matthews (+125) vs. Andre Fialho (-145) in a clash of welterweight prospects. Matthews dominated and scored a second-round stoppage to give the Gombas supporters another easy winner. Everyone who has followed Gombas has already seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz approaching, Gombas has studied the card from all angles and released his top MMA picks. Gombas’ UFC Fight Night picks are only available on SportsLine.
UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz preview
The main event will help create clarity atop a congested bantamweight division. Champion Aljamain Sterling is set to face No. 2-ranked TJ Dillashaw at UFC 280 in October. Cruz or Vera could be in contention for the winner as all of the contenders ranked above them have failed in title fights or the playoffs.
Cruz (24-3) is a popular and proven veteran who has also found success as a UFC analyst, a pursuit he discovered while sidelined due to numerous lingering injuries. The 36-year-old San Diego native believes he still has a title race left, and an impressive win on Saturday could give him that opportunity.
The former champion faces a major litmus test in Vera (19-7-1), an eight-year UFC veteran whose resume includes several quality wins but is still only 29 years old.
The sinister Ecuadorian brawler has seen his profile and rankings rise behind a 9-2 streak over the past four years and a recent 4-1 streak that includes many outstanding wins. Two years ago, he knocked out ultra-high profile prospect Sean O’Malley in the first round and is coming off a dominating five-round decision over rising contender Rob Font in April. Vera has won three consecutive performance bonuses. You can only see who to pick at UFC Fight Night here.
UFC Fight Night Predictions
We’ll share one of Gombas’ picks for UFC Fight Night here: He sides with Gabriel Benitez (-350) against Charlie Ontiveros (+290) in a pair of light and sturdy punchers.
Benitez (22-10) is an eight-year UFC veteran who won five of his first seven fights with the promotion before battling top-tier opponents. The 34-year-old Mexican fighter has lost twice in a row and his last appearance came in a stoppage loss to David Onama, who will compete in Saturday’s co-main event. Benitez has 10 submissions and eight knockouts to his name.
Ontiveros (11-8) is a power puncher who landed a UFC contract after a solid run through the Fury FC promotion. But the 31-year-old Texan was stopped in his first two fights with the promotion, including a second-round loss to prospect Steve Garcia last October.
“Ontiveros is big for the weight class and dangerous early on, but he’s a defensive liability and has gas tank issues. Benitez will have the wrestling advantage, but I bet he’ll choose to strike instead He’ll probably get Ontiveros out of there sooner or later,” Gombas told SportsLine. See who else to choose here.
How to Make UFC Fight Night Picks
Gombas also has strong picks for Vera vs. Cruz and other bouts on the UFC Fight Night card. He also backs a fighter who has “the power and exciting style” to come out with a dominating win. These UFC Fight Night picks are only available on SportsLine.
Who wins Vera against Cruz? And which fighter is a must-have? Visit SportsLine now for detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the insider who has earned over $10,000 on MMA picks over the past two years.and find out.
UFC Fight Night odds, fight card
Marlon Vera (-250) against Dominick Cruz (+210)
Cynthia Calvillo (-160) against Nina Nunes (+140)
Gabriel Benitez (-350) against Charlie Ontiveros (+290)
David Onama (-290) vs. Nate Landwehr (+245)
Ariane Lipski (-170) against Priscila Cachoeira (+150)
Ode Osbourne (-230) vs. Tyson Nam (+195)
Yazmin Jauregui (-190) against Iasmin Lucindo (+170)
Martin Buday (-250) against Lukasz Brzeski (+210)
Bruno Silva (-310) against Gerald Meerschaert (+255)
Youssef Zalal (-125) vs. Da’Mon Blackshear (+105)
Azamat Murzakanov (-155) against Devin Clark (+135)