Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight talents Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Aug. 22, 2020) at UFC on ESPN 15 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Edgar has been an elite contender or champion for most of the last decade, but the New Jersey-native has fallen on hard-times. Consecutive losses have expelled him from the Featherweight division, and while this move to 135 pounds does not seem like a poor fit, there’s really nowhere else to go if it does not work out. Alternatively, Munhoz has largely looked better than ever in the last couple years. “Young Punisher” is dealing out major damage with his punches and kicks, and he’s still a finishing threat if able to snatch the neck for even an instant.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Cub Swanson (UFC Fight Night 128, UFC Fight Night 57), B.J. Penn (TUF 19 Finale, UFC 118, UFC 112), Chad Mendes (TUF 22 Finale), Urijah Faber (UFC Fight Night 66), Gray Maynard (UFC 136), Jeremy Stephens (UFC 205)
Key Losses: Jose Aldo (UFC 200, UFC 156), Max Holloway (UFC 240), Brian Ortega (UFC 222), Chan Sung Jung (UFC Fight Night 165)
Keys to Victory: Edgar is one of the best at mixing wrestling and kickboxing. The former champion moves constantly, catching his opponents with quick bursts of combinations and takedowns alike.
Against Munhoz, that footwork will be a major key. Munhoz likes to strike from a set stance, which sacrifices mobility for power. As a result, he does his best work when opponents come directly to him or stand still. Edgar must do the opposite, forcing Munhoz to constantly set and reset his stance, which will help Edgar score openings and remain out of danger.
Otherwise, the whole theory behind Edgar’s move to 135 lbs. is that he’ll be able to more effectively impose his wrestling. It’s time to test that strategy out! Munhoz has a nasty guillotine, so being careful will be important, but Edgar has plenty of experience manhandling submission threats.
If Edgar is scoring takedowns, he tends to win those fights almost every time.
Record: 16-4 (1)
Key Wins: Cody Garbrandt (UFC 235), Bryan Caraway (TUF 28 Finale), Rob Font (UFC Fight Night 119), Justin Scoggins (UFC Fight Night 100), Brett Johns (UFC 227)
Key Losses: Aljamain Sterling (UFC 238), Jimmie Rivera (UFC Fight Night 77), Rafael Assuncao (UFC 170), John Dodson (UFC 222)
Keys to Victory: Munhoz is a violent man. The Brazilian stalks his opponents with stiff punches and thudding kicks, looking to create big impacts and snatch the neck whenever possible.
Against Edgar, Munhoz likely succeeds or fails based on how well he’s able to implement his calf kick. If he’s unable to score with that weapon, Edgar is likely too quick and mobile for Munhoz to consistently land on. If Munhoz is attacking his leg, however, the playing field is much more level, as Edgar’s quick feet will slow down.
Whenever Edgar circles towards Munhoz’s power, the Brazilian should be looking to dig a low kick.
Additionally, it’s fairly proven that Edgar attacks on a straight line. Munhoz may not have the reach and boxing of someone like Max Holloway, but that doesn’t mean a jab down the center will not land as Edgar flurries forward. The jab and low kick are a natural combination anyway, so effectively combining the two as much as possible will increase the odds that Munhoz lands.
The stakes are major for both men.
When Edgar was brutally pummeled by Chan Sung Jung in short-order, I wrote about the “Answer” Era, a 10-year time period in which Edgar has been a champion or title threat, and how it effectively came to an end. In this bout, Edgar has an opportunity to make that proclamation premature. Defeating Pedro Munhoz — particularly in a five-round main event — is no small feat, and that victory would instantly raise Edgar into title contention yet again.
Unfortunately, retirement likely looms with a loss.
On the other side of the equation, Munhoz is right back in the title mix with a victory. Should Aljamain Sterling fails in his quest to unseat Petr Yan, Munhoz would be a top-five Bantamweight in the win column. He might not be next, but he isn’t far off! However, a loss would make it two consecutive defeats in a row, which definitely stalls any momentum towards the title.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 15 fight card TONIGHT right here, starting with the ESPN+/ESPN “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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At UFC on ESPN 15, Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz will go to war in the main event. Which man will leave in the win column?