5 fights to make for UFC San Diego winners

C. Naik
Marlon Vera (right) made a statement against Dominick Cruz (left) [Image via @SandhuMMA on Twitter]
Marlon Vera (right) made a statement against Dominick Cruz (left) [Image via @SandhuMMA on Twitter]

UFC San Diego delivered on all fronts and the fans in attendance at the Penchanga Arena were treated to some jaw-dropping finishes, in addition to a couple of three-round barnburners.

Out of the 13 fights across the preliminary and main cards, seven bouts ended in finishes. UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz also featured some intriguing promotional debutants who undoubtedly have a bright future ahead of them in the world's premier MMA organization.

Here are five fights to make featuring the biggest winners from UFC San Diego.

#5. Tyson Nam vs. Su Mudaerji

Tyson Nam returned from a 19-month layoff in style at UFC San Diego, delivering a statement-making win against Ode Osbourne. The 38-year-old has been sidelined with injuries since his loss to Matt Schnell in early 2021 and returned to winning ways with a stunning first-round knockout victory at the Pechanga Arena.

Considering he didn't take any damage against Ode Osbourne, and the fact that he's coming off a long hiatus, expect Tyson Nam to return to the octagon shortly. In his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier, he made it clear that he is looking to fight again in two months.

Pitting Nam against a fellow striker seems like the right way to go, as it's guaranteed to end in spectacular fashion. Tibetan standout Su Mudaerji could be next for the American and is certainly a fan-friendly matchup. Both flyweights have 13 knockouts on their records and it's unlikely this bout will go the distance.

Additionally, Mudaerji currently sits inside the top 15 at 125 pounds, offering Nam a chance to re-enter the rankings with a win.

L-R: Su Mudaerji and Tyson Nam [Images via @mudaerji.su & @naminal11 on Instagram]
L-R: Su Mudaerji and Tyson Nam [Images via @mudaerji.su & @naminal11 on Instagram]

#4. Azamat Murzakanov vs. Jimmy Crute

Azamat Murzakanov broke onto the scene with a dominant showing on Dana White's Contender Series last year and the Russian has emphatically made his mark in the light heavyweight division since then.

The undefeated 33-year-old opened his account in the UFC with a scorching flying knee KO earlier this year and upheld his unblemished record at UFC San Diego, finishing Devin Clark in the third round of their bout.

This was Azamat Murzakanov's ninth career knockout victory and he should be on the cusp of breaking into the light heavyweight rankings. 'The Professional' is an entertaining fighter to watch, but he is yet to face a high level grappler.

A fight against No.15-ranked Jimmy Crute could be on the cards for Murzakanov after his latest victory as the matchmakers might look to capitalize on his momentum. Crute is a dangerous grappling specialist, evident in his submission win over Paul Craig, and makes for an intriguing matchup for Murzakanov.

Crute is coming off back-to-back losses to top-ranked contenders Jamahal Hill and Anthony Smith. The Australian will be desperate to return to the win column when he enters the octagon next, and a win over an undefeated contender could go a long way in boosting his confidence.

For Murzakanov, this would serve as the perfect chance to break into the light heavyweight top 15.

L-R: Jimmy Crute and Azamat Murzakanov [Images via @jimmycruteufc & @ufcrussia on Instagram]
L-R: Jimmy Crute and Azamat Murzakanov [Images via @jimmycruteufc & @ufcrussia on Instagram]

#3. Yazmin Jauregui vs. Angela Hill

Yazmin Jauregui is among the most highly touted prospects in the strawweight division. The unbeaten Mexican phenom signed with the UFC earlier this year and made her promotional debut on the main card at the Pechanga Arena, where she came away with a unanimous decision win over fellow prospect and debutant Iasmin Lucindo.

At just 23, Yazmin Jauregui displayed tremendous striking and fight IQ in har last outing, which took her professional record to 9-0. If she continues on her current trajectory, expect this explosive prospect to make waves in the upper echelons of the 115-pound division at some point down the line.

The UFC often pits young up-and-coming stars against veterans, and a fight against perennial strawweight contender Angela Hill makes sense for Jauregui.

Hill, at 37, is cleary in the twilight of her career, but is still among the most durable and experienced fighters in the division. 'Overkill' hasn't been finished in over three years and she too earned a decision win at UFC San Diego against Lupita Godinez.

#2. Nate Landwehr vs. Shane Burgos

In the co-main event of UFC San Diego, Nate Landwehr and David Onama put on an enthralling back-and-forth barnburner that blew the roof off the Pechanga Arena. Landwehr ultimately came away with a majority decision win, but perhaps more importantly, turned himself into a fan-favorite as well.

While he did call out Billy Quarantillo in his post-fight interview, a fight against another fan-favorite in Shane Burgos is certainly more fitting. Both Landwehr and Burgos are among the most entertaining featherweights in the world and as such, this matchup is a no-brainer.

Burgos' kill-or-be-killed mentality matches up very well against Landwehr, who will undoubtedly push 'Hurricane' to the limit if they are paired up. Both 145-pounders are now riding two-fight win streaks, and with their growing popularity, a potential bout between the duo warrants a place on a pay-per-view main card.

L-R: Nate Landwehr and Shane Burgos [Images via @MMAFighting on Twitter & @hurricaneshane on Instagram]
L-R: Nate Landwehr and Shane Burgos [Images via @MMAFighting on Twitter & @hurricaneshane on Instagram]

#1. Marlon Vera vs. winner of UFC 278's Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili

The UFC bantamweight division is on fire at the moment, and over the next few months, the pecking order at 135 pounds is set to undergo a few shuffles. At UFC San Diego, Marlon Vera made a resounding statement with his incredible fourth-round knockout victory over a bonafide future Hall-of-Famer in Dominick Cruz.

Firmly placed inside the top five of the bantamweight rankings, Marlon Vera is likely one more marquee win away from a shot at gold.

The 135-pound strap will be contested later this year when the champion, Aljamain Sterling, takes on T.J. Dillashaw. Many believe that another bantamweight bout on the undercard of the Sterling-Dillashaw championship match, a mouthwatering matchup between Petr Yan and Sean O'Malley, is the unofficial No.1 contender's bout.

For Vera, next week's pay-per-view could produce his next opponent as former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo locks horns with rising bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili.

Vera has already shared the octagon with Aldo, coming up short via decision in their close three-round bout last year. A rematch between the two could be on the table if the Brazilian legend beats Dvalishvili in Salt Lake City next weekend, and with the UFC set to return to Rio de Janiero early next year, a Vera-Aldo sequel is a shoe-in to bolster the card.

Vera vs. Dvalishvili is also an intriguing clash between two surging contenders. Stylistically, this matchup would be absolute chaos. However this pans out, fans will be treated to a speculacular high stakes bout featuring 'Chito', the most dangerous finisher in the division.

L-R: Marlon Vera and Aldo vs. Dvalishvili [Images via @chitoveraufc and @espnmma on Instagram]
L-R: Marlon Vera and Aldo vs. Dvalishvili [Images via @chitoveraufc and @espnmma on Instagram]

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