Photo of UFC on FUEL TV 4's Mark Munoz by Esther Lin for SBNation.
For someone with such vaunted wrestling credentials, Mark Munoz hits insanely hard.
He proved it in his two bouts for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), earning technical knockouts (TKOs) in both of them before he and the rest of the 205-pounders in the promotion were moved to the larger platform the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) provides.
His debut inside the Octagon didn't go as well as he would have hoped as he was on the business end of a head kick knockout at the hands -- or rather, feet -- of Matt Hamill.
But the silver lining of the loss was it proved to be the catalyst for Munoz's move to middleweight. Since then, the "Filipino Wrecking Machine" has been clearing out the 185-pound ranks in the UFC, losing only once in eight bouts.
Before he does, though, we'll take a look at his performance at UFC 112 against Kendall Grove. It was a fight where Munoz survived multiple bad spots only to come out the victor.
Let's dive in:
The opening pay-per-view bout at UFC 112 starts with each fighter bouncing in front of the other in the center of the Octagon. Munoz dives in for a body shot that the lankier Grove is quick to avoid. A second body shot attempt sees Grove throw a knee toward the Filipino's head.
A Oklahoma State University wrestling stud, Munoz charges forward with a power double leg takedown and gets "Da Spyder" onto his back. A vicious punch from above lands but Grove is quick to get back to his feet. When he does, however, Munoz launches an all-out punching attack, connecting several times on the Hawaiian.
The tide turns, though, when the "Filipino Wrecking Machine" dives forward for another takedown and eats a perfectly-timed uppercut from Grove. Munoz staggers to the mat and "Da Spyder" unleashes a flurry of hammerfists which crack the side of Munoz's skull over and over.
The wrestler is clinging desperately to a single-leg, but he's eating a ton of shots from his opponent. They clinch up and begin to work against the cage and it seems most of the cobwebs have been shaken from the former WEC light heavyweight.
With a little less than two minutes remaining, the two are broken apart and restarted. A takedown attempt from the wrestler gets him caught in an anaconda choke he is forced to defend against. When they both get vertical, Munoz is able to crack Grove with two heavy hooks.
He follows them up with another takedown, but again The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner threatens with a submission. His arms snaking their way across Munoz's neck, Grove almost sinks it in but is unable to do so.
The second round starts with a repeat of the first as Munoz goes for a takedown but getting countered with a strike. The first time around, it was an uppercut delivered by Grove which put Munoz in trouble. This time, a knee crashes into the "Filipino Wrecking Machine's" jaw and sends him careening onto the mat.
Grove goes in for the kill and takes his opponent's back. At this position, a rear naked choke or an inverse triangle are available to the Hawaiian. As they scramble on the mat, Grove is forced to transition to an armbar attempt, but Munoz is able to slide out and immediately begins raining down ground and pound with such fervor, one would think the fight had just started.
Munoz begins battering Grove's body with punches. He stands up, holding onto one of Grove's ankles and delivers a hellacious punch to his opponent's skull. It gives the wrestler the opening he has been looking for. He unloads a barrage of punches and "Da Spyder" finds himself in trouble.
He rolls onto his stomach to avoid more damage but it gets worse before it gets better. A few seconds pass until the referee steps in and calls the fight.
Munoz would go on to lose his next bout -- a split decision to Yushin Okami -- but has since rattled off four straight victories, including a brutal stoppage for Chris Leben in the main event of UFC 138.
With a win over Weidman, can a title shot be far behind?