Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights Mark Munoz and Luke Barnatt slugged it out yesterday morning (Sat., May 16, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 66 on FOX Sports 1 inside the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Coming off some difficult losses, Munoz announced prior to this bout that this would be his final fight. With that out of the way, all that was left for "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" was to earn a final victory in front of some of his biggest supporters.
Meanwhile, Barnatt was in an unenviable position. Paired off with a hometown favorite, the Englishman was also on a two-fight losing streak heading into this bout. Considering the usual ramifications of losing three straight, Barnatt was quite motivated.
Unfortunately for the Englishman, Munoz earned his storybook ending (video highlights here).
After getting touched up by some jabs and an uppercut, Munoz scored an early takedown. Not long after, Barnatt scrambled back to his feet. With his opponent pinned to the fence, Munoz scored with some big punches and landed another takedown, though he couldn't keep Barnatt down.
However, he couldn't get escape the clinch, either. Each time Munoz did get his opponent to the mat, he was able to land his trademark "Donkey Kong" ground strikes before Barnatt scrambled back up. Across the entire round, Munoz was able to do some serious damage.
By the end of a hard first round, both men were tired, but Munoz was clearly ahead.
Barnatt seemed to recover well between rounds, as he stuffed an early takedown chain and landed some nice knees. As "Bigslow" was establishing his range, Munoz ducked into a single leg takedown and finished with a slam.
Once more, Barnatt was able to return to his feet quickly. For the rest of the round, he continued to defend takedowns and land with some of his punches and knees.
Though Barnatt deserved to win the round, the judges had already proved themselves unreliable multiple times.
In the final round, it was Munoz who caught his second wind. For the entire round, Munoz pressured his opponent to the fence, whipped big hooks towards his foe and worked for takedowns. It wasn't always pretty, but Munoz landed plenty of heavy shots and scored some key takedowns.
Munoz is definitely on a physical decline, but this was still a pretty classic "Filipino Wrecking Machine" performance. His takedown set ups weren't always there, but Munoz still forced his opponent to the mat. Plus, his strikes had a clear impact, as Munoz fired off looping shots on his feet and the mat. Even though he missed quite a bit, he kept his opponent on his back foot and did damage.
This was a fitting performance for which Munoz could end his career. Hopefully, he has a happy retirement and finds success while coaching wrestling (watch his retirement speech here).
For Barnatt, he definitely shored up his takedown defense. However -- as with many tall men -- he stood up too straight and failed to get his head off the center line. This was especially obvious when Barnatt had his back to the fence, as he couldn't circle away from his opponent's shots.
Meaning Munoz could basically land at will.
Still, Barnatt showed some potential in exchanges. He's still much better in the clinch than at distance, but it seems like his camp doesn't want him to use that aspect of his game. Either way, if Barnatt does get another chance inside the Octagon -- and I'd argue that he's talented enough to belong in the promotion -- he'll hopefully be able to really put his game together.
At UFC Fight Night 66, Mark Munoz ended his career on a high-note.
For complete UFC Fight Night 66 "Edgar vs. Faber" results and play-by-play, click HERE!