UFC 170 Play: Pedro Munhoz (+240) vs Raphael Assuncao (-260)

MMA: UFC on FOX 5-Assuncao vs EastonUFC 170 Date: February 22, 2014 Arena: Mandalay Bay Events Center City: Las Vegas, NV Bantamweight bout: Pedro Munhoz (+215) vs Raphael Assuncao (-235) Fight Breakdown: The UFC 170 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 will feature a bantamweight match-up with title implications, when the veteran Raphael Assuncao takes on promotional newcomer and fellow Brazilian, Pedro Munhoz, who gave up his RFA bantamweight title to take this fight. Munhoz is the underdog in this match-up at +215 ($100 to win $215) with Assuncao being the betting favorite at -235 ($235 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. PEDRO MUNHOZ (10-0 MMA, UFC) will be making his promotional debut on a short two-week notice, as he steps in to replace the injured Francisco Rivera. He is coming off a first round submission victory over Billy Daniels at RFA 12 just under a month ago. He received the call from the UFC two weeks after his quick win, and now is set to make his Octagon debut and make a run in the UFC’s 135 pound division. The 27-year old is a crowd-pleasing fighter who likes to move forward and finish his opponents. He is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Marco Barbosa and an excellent submission grappler, as is evident by his six submission victories. The Brazilian trains out of Black House MMA in Los Angeles with notable training partners Lyoto Machida, Baneil Dariush, and Rafael Dos Anjos. He works his striking under the tutelage of Master Rafael Cordeiro and his wrestling under Kenny Johnson. Munhoz has crisp boxing and excellent Muay Thai skills. He has trained Karate and Judo since childhood, thus has a solid base. He can keep the fight on the feet, if he pleases, as he has fantastic takedown defense. The now-former RFA bantamweight champion is never afraid to take the fight to the mat, though, since his submission grappling game is off the charts. Munhoz loves to strike, but he finds it more satisfying to get the submission. Despite this being his first fight in the UFC, plus the fact that he fought under a month ago and is taking this fight on very short notice, I think his conditioning will be good enough for a hard three rounds against Assuncao. RAPHAEL ASSUNCAO (20-4 MMA, 5-1 UFC) will be making his seventh appearance inside the Octagon while enjoying a five-fight winning streak that includes finishes of Issei Tamura and Vaughan Lee, as well as decision victories over Mike Easton, Jonny Eduardo, and most recently a controversial one against TJ Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 29 over four months ago. While many fans and media alike scored the bout for Dillashaw, two of three judges in Brazil gave it to the Brazilian. After a successful run at both lightweight and featherweight, the 31-year old has found a new home at bantamweight, where he is currently undefeated with the five aforementioned victories. He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who is well-versed in the submission game, both offensively and defensively. Nine of his 19 career victories have come by way of submission, so he knows how to capitalize on opportunities in order to get the tapout. Assuncao is skilled in the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira and you can tell in his movement and footwork, which are excellent. He moves really well inside the cage and is not easy to cut off. He has solid boxing skills and his striking arsenal keeps growing and improving. The UFC and WEC veteran has good takedowns defense, and is effective with his jab. He is a well-conditioned mixed martial artist, so I believe he will have no trouble going a full 15 minutes against Munhoz, should the fight go the distance. Fight Prediction: I think the only way Assuncao wins this fight is by outpointing Munhoz en route to a decision. I think Munhoz can do that, as well, but the difference is, I think he could also finish Assuncao. Simply put, I think Munhoz is the all-around better fighter, and if you told me one of these two guys would be a champion one day, my money would be on Munhoz. I think he has the potential to be an elite fighter, whereas Assuncao does not. I don’t know how it will end, but I am confident Munhoz will have a good showing, and there is a good chance he will get his hand raised. I personally capped him at +120 for this fight, so there is no way I can pass up on this +240 line. Gabe’s Pick: Pedro Munhoz by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Pedro Munhoz (+240) 3.5u to win 8.4u

Written by Gabe Killian

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