- Date & Location: Saturday Aug. 22 @ UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Odds: Pedro Munhoz -250, Frankie Edgar +195
- Prediction: Munhoz by decision
Pedro Munhoz welcomes former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar to the UFC’s bantamweight division on Saturday when the two meet in the main event of the UFC on ESPN 15 fight card.
Munhoz, who is the No. 5 ranked fighter in the official UFC bantamweight rankings, is coming off a loss to Aljamain Sterling in June 2019. He was on a three-fight winning streak ahead of that decision setback. Edgar, who is on a two-fight losing skid at featherweight is dropping down to 135 pounds in the hopes of making another title run. Edgar won the lightweight title in 2010. He defended that belt three times.
MUNHOZ vs. EDGAR ODDS
MUNHOZ vs. EDGAR PREDICTION & PICK
The UFC is not giving Frankie Edgar a break for his first fight at 135 pounds and having watched Edgar compete for many years, the 38-year-old former 155-pound champion is likely okay with that decision. Edgar is nothing if not a fearless and fierce competitor. However, the move down to bantamweight at this point in his career could be very risky.
Edgar is on the downside of a long career. He debuted with the UFC in 2007 with a record of 6-0. Today, Edgar is 23-8-1. He is 1-3 in his past four fights with his sole win being a decision over another aging fighter, Cub Swanson.
Munhoz is still on the rise. Had he defeated Sterling, there’s a good chance Munhoz would be next in line for a shot at current champion Petr Yan. Before his setback to Sterling, Munhoz knocked out former UFC bantamweight titleholder Cody Garbrandt in the first round.
Munhoz is a heavy hitter and a skilled submission artist. Edgar is one of the toughest fighters in the UFC and has excellent cardio and wrestling skills, but the jury is really out on how for those capabilities can carry him at 135 pounds.
Pick: Munoz (-250)
BETTING VALUE WITH MUNHOZ
I don’t think Edgar makes the move to bantamweight if he is not desperate for a win. It can’t be easy for a 28-year-old fighter to drop to 135 pounds when he’s had careers at 155 and 145 in the past. If it was an easy weight cut, Edgar would have likely made the move earlier.
One reason Edgar fought at the higher weights was because it was closer to his natural weight. That gave him better cardio than his opponents. It also gave him a speed and maybe even a power advantage. Those benefits will not exist at bantamweight.
Munhoz, who tested positive for COVID-19 in July, is one of the best fighter at 135 pounds today. He knows how his body reacts to the weight cut and how hard he can push inside the octagon. Edgar does not have that knowledge. That should make Munhoz more comfortable and confident.
Munhoz should also be able to negate Edgar’s strengths.
Munhoz has knockout power. With that, there are some questions about Edgar’s chin at 135 pounds, especially since two of his three recent losses have come by knockout. The two stoppage losses were the first of Edgar’s career.
Munhoz could score a knockout, so that bet is in play, but I believe Edgar’s chin will hod. Edgar has never lost by submission.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
As a lightweight and featherweight, Edgar had advantages in cardio and speed. At best, those things will be equal when he faces Munhoz at bantamweight.
Edgar will be able to hit Munhoz as Munhoz has not been great defensively. However, Munhoz has never been knocked out. Edgar has good wrestling, but his takedown accuracy is only 31 percent, which does not bode well against Munhoz, who has a takedown defense of 81 percent.
Munhoz is very active with his striking. He averages 5.29 significant strikes per minute, which ranks him ninth all-time in the UFC bantamweight division.
It’s hard not to favor Munhoz in this fight with the trajectory Edgar has been on in his past four outings.
FIGHT STATS: MUNHOZ vs. EDGAR
|Pedro Munhoz||Category||Frankie Edgar|
|5.29||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||3.60|
|6.17||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.48|
|0.92||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||2.34|
|1.1||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.3|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
A Munhoz win keeps him in the mix in a somewhat confusing division as the promotion has not named a potential opponent for Petr Yan despite Yan winning the belt in July.
For Edgar, a win would automatically make him a player in the bantamweight division and the UFC could give Edgar a title shot, even with just one win at bantamweight.