MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN 15, a five-round bantamweight bout between Pedro Munhoz and Frankie Edgar. The event takes place on Saturday, August 22 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pedro Munhoz (-255)
Munhoz (18-4, 1 NC) is the No. 5 ranked bantamweight in the UFC. The 33-year-old Brazilian is 8-4, 1 NC overall in the Octagon with wins over Cody Garbrandt, Brett Johns, Bryan Caraway, and Rob Font, with losses to Aljamain Sterling, John Dodson, Raphael Assuncao, and Jimmie Rivera. Munhoz has quietly become one of the most well-rounded and dangerous bantamweights on the UFC roster over the last six years. His submissions have traditionally been how he won his fights but he has improved his striking dramatically over the last few years. He has a good chin, good cardio, and has plenty of big-fight experience. He’s just needing that one marquee win in a main event to really announce himself as a title contender and this Edgar fight may just be it.
Frankie Edgar (+215)
Edgar (23-8-1) is the former UFC lightweight champion. The 38-year-old American is a legend of MMA and he holds notable wins over the likes of BJ Penn, Cub Swanson, Yair Rodriguez, Jeremy Stephens, Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, and Charles Oliveira. For the last 13 years, Edgar has been a force at 155lbs, 145lbs, and now 135lbs. He has proven for years he’s an elite talent with a tremendous wrestling pedigree, good boxing, and amazing cardio. But at age 38 he’s finally slowing down and he has suffered several knockout losses over the last few years. Edgar is a legend of the sport but moving down in weight at this point in his career is a real risk. That being said, if he can beat Munhoz he will jump into title contention right away in the stacked UFC bantamweight division.
Fight Breakdown: At first glance, the line for this fight may seem high in Munhoz’s favor, but when you really look deeper, there isn’t much to like about Edgar here. He’s dropping down to 135lbs for the first time in his career, he’s 38 years old, and he’s coming off of a devastating TKO loss to The Korean Zombie. Yes, Edgar is a former champion and a surefire UFC Hall of Famer when it’s all said and done, but it’s hard to see him dropping down a weight class this late in his career and beating a top-five opponent in Munhoz. Although Munhoz lost his last fight to Sterling, it was a very competitive bout, and considering Sterling is in line to fight for the belt next, there’s no shame in that loss. Prior to that, he knocked out Garbrandt and beat Caraway and Johns impressively. I like the form that Munhoz has been showing the last few years and believe he can make a run for the 135lbs belt. Considering the state of Edgar’s chin these days and the fact Munhoz has 25 minutes to land the finishing blow, I believe he will be able to find the finish here before the five rounds are over.
Prediction: Pedro Munhoz wins via TKO