Pedro Munhoz and Frankie Edgar will both be looking to make a return to winning ways when they main event the UFC Fight Night card on August 22, but will Munhoz re-establish himself as a top-five talent in the division or could Edgar catapult himself into the top 10 with a big win?
Munhoz may not have a flawless record, but he has established himself as a major player in the 135lb division over the past couple of years. The 33-year-old Brazilian won just one of his first four fights after signing on with the UFC in 2014, but he turned the corner in the summer of 2016 and has now gone 7-2 in his last nine trips to the Octagon.
In 2019 he made himself a leading contender for a title shot when he dispatched former champion Cody Garbrandt with strikes in the very first round of their encounter, only for his momentum to stall just over a year ago when he dropped a decision to another top-five ranked opponent in Aljamain Sterling. Munhoz had his moments during the contest, but ultimately he had no answer to Sterling’s slick striking and sizeable reach advantage over three rounds, and that resulted in a second defeat in the space of 15 months.
There is no reason for ‘The Young Punisher’ to press the panic button as he finally gets an opportunity to bounce back at UFC Fight Night on August 22, but if he does not make a return to winning ways then he will almost certainly slide out of the title picture. So can Munhoz bounce back by claiming another notable scalp?
Edgar is one of the all-time greats in the lighter weight classes and is a former lightweight champion who is no stranger to fighting big fights. The 38-year-old has been involved in no less than nine title fights across two weight classes since putting pen-to-paper on a deal with the UFC over 13 years ago, and in that time he has faced a who’s who of mixed martial artists, beating the likes of BJ Penn and Urijah Faber along the way.
However, it would not be unfair to say that ‘The Answer’ is firmly on the downward turn in his career. Edgar has lost each of his last two fights and has now been on the losing end in four of his last seven bouts dating back to the summer of 2016. Edgar has not been shamed, losing to some of the very best that the UFC has to offer, but since losing a featherweight title fight with Jose Aldo back in February 2013 he has found his career in limbo.
He did have a decent run at featherweight following that loss to Aldo, reeling off five straight wins to earn another crack at the Brazilian, but that streak largely came against fighters that were also past their sell-by date or were just not top level talent. When Edgar has fought the top-ranked fighters, it has not tended to end well. He has been knocked out by both Chan Sung Jung and Brian Ortega in the first round over the past couple of years and that spells trouble for him here.
Munhoz is not a devastating striker – he has just four KO/TKO wins on his record – but he did need less than a round to dispatch ex-champion Garbrandt and he will certainly fancy his chances of taking out Edgar here. He will not fear the pitter-patter striking approach from Edgar and that will give him the confidence to take a shot to deliver the heavy hits that he wants to deliver. He will press forward thoughout, pile on the pressure and ultimately land a shot that separates Edgar from consciousness before the final bell.