Word is out that the UFC has signed another of the world’s top Bantamweight prospects. Many expected Pedro Munoz to get a UFC contract after his victory over longtime journeyman and UFC vet Jeff Curran at RFA 9. It took one more fight, a quick, punishing submission win over Billy Daniels, but now it appears that that day has arrived. Rafael Cordeiro, head coach at Kings MMA, released the news that Munhoz would be competing at UFC 170 over Instagram.
Bloody Elbow’s Fernando Arbex has the translation:
Intense workout with UFC athletes Werdum, Rafael dos Anjos, Beneil Dariush and now the newest hired Pedro Munhoz. Very happy to have another student representing our fighting spirit inside the octagon. Congratulations Pedrinho! Near commitments; Lyoto Machida, 15/02 (Jaragua), Pedro Munhoz, 22/02 (Las Vegas), Werdum and Rafael, 19/04 (Orlando).
There are only two men’s bantamweight fights scheduled for UFC 170 and Bloody Elbow has confirmed, independently, that neither Aljamain Sterling nor Lucas Martins have been pulled from the card at this point. With Raphael Assuncao in need of an opponent (after Francisco Rivera pulled out due to injury) it would appear that the UFC has tapped the RFA champion as his fill in dance partner.
The 27 year old Munhoz was originally a product of Gibi Thay and Barbosa Jiu Jitsu before moving to the states and Arriva-Machado MMA. More recently he’s been training at the highly regarded Kings MMA alongside recent UFC signee Beneil Dariush, and longtime vets Fabricio Werdum, and Raphael dos Anjos. It’s a move that propelled him up to #8 on Patrick Wyman’s Search for Future Champions. He’s a no-gi grappling specialist in his BJJ background, with extensive tournament experience. He’ll enter the UFC with a 10-0 record, having defeated the likes of Reginaldo Vieira, Bill Kamery, and Mitch Jackson.
Watching Munhoz fight he has a fantastic and diverse mix of skills. He throws a sharp, snapping front kick to the body to maintain distance in striking and his boxing fundamentals are strong, if not amazing in their power or dynamism. Of course his skill on the ground is where his real quality shines. His wrestling and grappling are both excellent. He excels at taking the fight to the ground, both from the clinch and in shooting from the outside. He changes direction excellently on shots and is well versed in a variety of single and double leg entries. His ability to find submissions in transition and to finish hurt opponents with his grappling is also excellent as he has five of his ten wins through tap-out.
All of the above is not to say that a fight with Raphael Assuncao is not an incredibly difficult task for Munhoz in his first UFC fight. Assuncao is, himself, a well versed BJJ grappler and has shown excellent takedown defense, and more importantly a highly polished striking game in his UFC tenure. Assuncao should have a pretty clear advantage in pure striking in this fight, and may just be the better athlete all around. It should be an exciting bout either way, and given Munhoz’s age, experience and camp I don’t expect him to come unprepared, even if its as the clear underdog.
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