Flyweights CJ Vergara and Daniel Lacerda, also known as Daniel da Silva, faced off on the prelims of UFC San Antonio.
Both men were competing in their fourth UFC bout as they tried to establish themselves in the division, but with losing records they were in must-win territory, particularly Lacerda who was 0-3 in the promotion. However, Daniel is known for his finishing ability, having never gone the distance, win or lose, so this fight seemed to be a banger on paper. Lacerda’s fights usually end inside the first round, as his cardio drops precipitously after that. Vergara was a hometown boy, fighting out of San Antonio, and had the crowd behind him; the energy was through the roof when his name was announced.
Vergara did keep a measured pace early on, sticking to leg kicks as he found his range and not letting the energy of the crowd let him make mistakes. The two began to both find the target with punches as well as kicks. Lacerda tried a flying knee at one point on an off-balance Vergara, a big action. Vergara responded with a big left hand that pushed Lacerda of-balance himself. Lacerda then threw a spinning wheel kick that dropped Vergara, who literally turned and ran. Lacerda finally found him and dropped him to his knees, Vergara clinched up and ran away. For over a minute straight he ran away. Lacerda poured on the pressure, hurting him again and again as Vergara retreated.
The clock ticked down past 1:30 as Lacerda decided to go for a takedown and got it. He got into full mount and forced Vergara to give up his back; he got both hooks in quickly. Lacerda went for a neck crank that almost finished it but Vergara peeled the hands off and got back to his feet with forty seconds left. Lacerda began to look gassed then as Vergara tagged him with left hands. But Vergara then got hurt again and retreated until the end of the round, when he finally went forward and landed punches. It was an absolutely insane round, which had the crowd were roaring.
Between rounds, Vergara’s corner told him that Lacerda was done but that he was down 10-8. When the second round started he stayed safe but Lacerda was still there and the wheel kick was always threatening to land. Vergara pushed Lacerda back and landed strikes but Lacerda landed a spinning elbow that backed him off. Lacerda went for a takedown which Vergara defended. Lacerda grabbed a leg and turned it into a potential calf slicer but Vergara rained down massive punches and elbows which hurt him and made him give up the position. He settled into top half guard.
As the fight crossed the halfway point CJ tried to lock up an arm triangle choke and stepped off to the side. Lacerda tried to hang on but his face turned purple, however he slipped free. Vergara stayed on top and dropped down elbows as the crowd chanted, “CJ, CJ.” With ninety seconds left he started using elbows to the body. Lacerda offered up no resistance as Vergara dropped elbow after elbow on his face. Ref Jason Herzog warned him to get out of there multiple times but Lacerda could only turn to his stomach and continue to eat punches until the fight was stopped.
Had the whole arena hyped up 🙌@CJVergara1991 adding an early entry for comeback of the year!!!! #UFCSanAntonio pic.twitter.com/jnb7nkOKEt
— UFC (@ufc) March 25, 2023
The crowd went absolutely wild as CJ Vergara jumped up on the cage and celebrated. After being down multiple times in round one, almost being finished, and losing 10-8, he was able to return to dominate Lacerda and do the same to him before finally getting a finish in the second round. This may be somewhat of a star-making performance for Vergara, and will absolutely be in the conversation for ‘Fight of the Night’ honors.
Official Result: CJ Vergara def. Daniel Lacerda by TKO (ground and pound), Round 2, 4:04