Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight up-and-comers Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font will look to break into the title mix this Saturday (Oct. 28, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 119 inside Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
On the whole, things have been going well for “The Young Punisher.” Outside of a short-notice debut loss and split decision defeat to Top 5-ranked competition, Munhoz has not tasted defeat inside the Octagon and is currently on a three-fight win streak. Having won four of five, Font is in a rather similar position. The 30-year old athlete has finished each of his UFC victories, which definitely has helped him stand out among his peers.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record: 14-2 (1)
Key Wins: Justin Scoggins (UFC Fight Night 100), Russell Doane (UFC Fight Night 90), Damian Stasiak (UFC Fight Night 109)
Key Losses: Jimmie Rivera (UFC Fight Night 77), Rafael Assuncao (UFC 170)
Keys to Victory: An American Top Team representative with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Munhoz also brings an aggressive Muay Thai attack to the cage. His guillotine is also a big weapon and responsible for five of his victories.
It’s pretty clear where both men want this match. Munhoz can strike, but his strength is jiu-jitsu, whereas Font is very clearly a knockout artist with no intention of scrambling into a guillotine.
Getting the takedown will likely be difficult, but Font is not truly tested opposite a strong wrestler. However, judging from Font’s distance control, setting up the shot will be a task in itself. To that end, Munhoz needs to take advantage of his low kicks and pressure. Getting Font to the fence is the first step in taking him down, and punting his leg any time Font tries to move his feet is a smart way to limit his lateral movement.
Key Wins: George Roop (UFC 175), Douglas Silva de Andrade (UFC 213), Matt Schnell (TUF 24 Finale)
Key Losses: John Lineker (UFC 198)
Keys to Victory: Although Font has a nearly equal amount of finishes spread between knockouts and submissions, there’s no doubt that Font prefers to throw hands. The Sityodtong-trained fighter has some great footwork and is likely one of his division’s heavier hitters.
This bout will be a test of that footwork. Most of the time, Font has looked excellent, managing range wonderfully and landing big shots as his foe closes in. The exception is his loss to Lineker, who pushed through Font’s strikes and lit him up almost at will.
Munhoz is far from Lineker in terms of boxing and power, but he is an aggressive scrapper.
It’s important that Font doesn’t back off from exchanges here. He’s the more powerful puncher this time around, so it’s important that he stand his ground when necessary. Additionally, Munhoz is unlike Lineker in that he actually recognizes when people punch him in the face, meaning Font’s counter strikes will be more valuable in backing his foe off.
Bottom Line: The winner should advance into the Top 10 ... and it’s a surefire scrap.
Munhoz and Font are in very similar positions. Coming into this fight off strong performances at the ages of 31 and 30 years old, respectively, it’s clear that both men are in their primes. That adds some pressure to this match up, as the winner puts himself in great position to earn a title shot. He’s not there quite yet, but the victor is in the title mix alongside guys like Assuncao, Sterling, and Lineker.
With this being such a big opportunity, it’s also a large risk. The top half of the Bantamweight is on fire — there are several high-level 135-pound fighters trying to make their claim toward a title shot. It’s a bad time for a step backward, which is precisely what a loss does here.
At UFC Fight Night 119, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font will duel in a pivotal Bantamweight battle. Which man will have his hand raised?