Marlon Vera shouldn’t have expected a warm welcome in Dominick Cruz’s hometown of San Diego, but he had fun throwing a little gas on the fire.

The Ecuadorian bantamweight, who gets perhaps his best chance to climb into title contention by beating Cruz, promised the two-time champ’s fans, “I’m going to kick his ass tomorrow – I’m going to finish him,” closing UFC San Diego’s ceremonial weigh-ins after a tense main event staredown.

UFC San Diego takes place Friday at Pechanga Arena in San Diego. The 13-bout card kicks off at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+.

Cruz, not surprisingly, got a far warmer reception as the first main event fighter to make the walk for pose-downs.

“Love being her in San Diego, my people – we’re going to bring it back,” he said after the faceoff. “Let’s go.”

The winner of UFC San Diego’s main event is well positioned to challenge the winner of an upcoming title fight between champ Aljamain Sterling and ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280.

Check out the main event staredown above.



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