UFC on ESPN 15: Munhoz vs Edgar Predictions & Results

Former UFC Lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, returns on Saturday to face off against hype-train derailer, Pedro Munhoz. 22 August 2020.

The UFC returns to the Apex octagon, carrying on from last week’s heavyweight championship between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. With results that no doubt made Dana White’s shade of red turn ever more tomato-like, he can be thankful that there are few hype trains at threat of being derailed this Saturday.

The main event seems to be the only meaningful fight on the card, but it could be a heartbreaking bout for the long time fans of the sport. Frankie Edgar has been a UFC sweetheart since he ripped the lightweight title from BJ Penn’s hands, and delivered a gruelling trilogy with Gray Maynard. Edgar’s move up to featherweight had been smooth during a brief 2013-2015 period (collecting scalps of Charles Oliveira, Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber), but has hit a sharp decline in recent times. Stopped for the first time in his career in March 2018, a highlight reel KO at the hands of Brian Ortega, Edgar has since been shut-out by Max Holloway and washed out in a round by the Korean Zombie. Moving to bantamweight is a strange move so late in his career, especially when faced off with a scary operator such as Pedro Munhoz. Munhoz’s defensive boxing leaves lots to be desired, but there is no denying the crack that comes with Munhoz’s offence. Perhaps more importantly, Munhoz is riding a career-high after starching former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt in a round. Munhoz possesses a solid chin, a hard punch, and fabulous TDD; this could be another ugly night for Edgar.

There isn’t much else to report on the card, several fights were cancelled for undisclosed reasons but to be honest they were all fairly meaningless anyway. As such, this will be a whistle-stop tour through the fights. A more detailed analysis will be posted next week for the barn-burner that is the Smith vs Rakic card!

Cody Garbrandt Drops Another Fight Against Pedro Munhoz – The Red Beat
Pedro Munhoz stops the reckless onslaught from Cody Garbrandt by sitting in the pocket and throwing wild hooks that eventually would connect cleaner. UFC 235, 3 March 2019.

Main Event

Bantamweight (135)

Pedro Munhoz (18-4) vs Frankie Edgar (23-8-1)

You would be forgiven if the only reason you truly know Pedro Munhoz’s name and game is because of his first-round knockout of Cody Garbrandt. Munhoz has been around the UFC for a long time, debuting with a defeat to Raphael Assunção back in 2014, the fighter that Garbrandt just knocked out in two rounds last June. MMA is a truly wonderful sport. During Munhoz’s career, every time he has stepped up from contenders to actual top-ten fighters, he has looked lost at sea. Dropping decisions to Jimmie Rivera, John Dodson and Aljamain Sterling does not mean you are a bad fighter. Consistently losing to ranked fighters, however, indicates the ceiling that you may be unable to break. Most of Munhoz’s issues stem from his plodding style of striking that is extremely simplistic in its output. Basic footwork, hard-hitting overhands, and a defensive soundness reliant on his chin, Munhoz has fallen back on his power to bully the smaller fish at Bantamweight. Of note is Munhoz’s grappling which forms the bulk of his killer instinct. Once his man is hurt, Munhoz actively searches for a submission. Whilst his BJJ has been at an adequate standard to turn away the Rob Fonts and Justin Scoggins of the MMA world, Munhoz has never submitted a top fighter.

This is the style of match-up that Frankie Edgar would have been a heavy favourite to win as far back as three years ago. Never submitted during his career, Edgar is a wizard on the mat who has focused his energy on grappling technique to circumvent his size disadvantage. Let us not forget that Edgar destroyed Yair Rodriguez on the ground back in 2017. Unfortunately for Edgar, his success on the mat requires his striking to get the fight there in the first place. Since the Ortega loss, Edgar’s previously crisp boxing has looked one-dimensional and lacking any real snap. The speed that defined Edgar’s exchanges during his lightweight and featherweight runs were based on his ability to enter and exit the pocket with ease; confusing opponents to allow for an easier takedown. The speed advantage at Bantamweight will be muted for Edgar, even if he does have the speed advantage in this fight. Cracks in Edgar’s chin shown against Ortega and Korean Zombie are also worrying, as Munhoz most certainly possesses the knockout punch to end this early.

Predicted Result: Edgar Decision

Frankie Edgar turns back the clocks and grinds out a five-round performance with a couple shaky moments. Saved by his wrestling, and all-round better skillset, Edgar should be able to beat Munhoz on the feet and the mat. Edgar’s chin is always a risk factor, but last-minute fights have plagued his career, so a full-camp and healthy Edgar could prove he still deserves to be fighting the big boys.

Edgar dominates Penn for the third time - Sportsnet.ca
Frankie Edgar delivers an unholy beatdown on former Lightweight champion BJ Penn during their trilogy fight, UFC TUF 19 Finale, 6 July 2014.

Result: Edgar def. Munhoz // Decision (split – 46-49, 48-47, 48-47)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️


Co-Main Event

Light Heavyweight (205)

Ovince St. Preux (24-14) vs Alonzo Menifeld (9-1)

Hahaha, how is this co-main event? Good Lord. OSP returns to light heavyweight after an embarrassing decision loss to heavyweight veteran, Ben Rothwell. The same problems that have plagued OSP’s career at LHW, appeared at HW, as his rampant inactivity trumped any significant shots he landed. OSP is only one big head kick, or random Von Flue Choke, away from securing an emphatic victory. Aside from the hail mary’s, OSP is a very limited fighter with a gas tank that rivals the early World War One tanks.

Speaking of gas tanks, Alonzo Menifeld enters the room. The man is built like a Greek God but gassed after a minute during his decision loss to Devin Clark. During that opening round, Menifeld looked viscous dangerous but the gameplan on how to beat him is now out in the open. Any competent striker should almost always be able to evade the more damaging strikes of Menifeld. Beating Menifeld is made slightly more difficult by his solid TDD which prevents the easy route of draining Menifeld on the mat during the dangerous first round. Moving up to light heavyweight is a strange career move for a man who tops the scale at a generous 6″0′, but perhaps the weight cut was draining gas tank.

Predicted Result: OSP Submission Round 3

Battle of the gas tanks. It will be a fun watch for about a minute. Hopefully it ends there.

Petition · Petition to rename the Von Flue choke to Von Preux ...
OSP hits a first round Von Flue Choke on Yushin Okami at UFC FIght Night 117. 22 September 2017.

Result: 🚫 CANCELLED FIGHT 🚫

Wishing OSP a speedy recovery after his recent positive test for COVID-19.


Main Card

Light Heavyweight (205)

Mike Rodriguez (10-4) vs Marcin Prachnio (13-4)

A dreadful light heavyweight match but at least it should end early! Rodriguez is a fighter who is struggling to establish himself at even a feeder level for UFC fighters. Dropping a decision to Devin Clark, Rodriguez has since been pounded into the ground by Da Un Jung. Rodriguez’s first-round TKO of Adam Milstead showed positive signs, however. Disregarding the turtle-like snap of his strikes, he generates decent power that will hurt opponents if they land. Rodriguez was submitted by a toe hold back in 2016, however, which says all that you need to know about his ground game.

Smashing ONE competition left, right and centre, Prachnio entered the UFC with a decent bit of hype. Being ended in the first round by Smilin’ Sam Alvey, however, will put the brakes on anyone’s hype train. Finished again in his next fight by Magomed Ankalaev (no shame in that to be honest), Prachnio is still searching for his first win.

Predicted Result: Rodriguez TKO Round 2

Neither man has attempted a takedown during their career. Perhaps Saturday would be a good night for either man to attempt a takedown. Rodriguez possesses an 8-inch reach advantage and has nearly double the significant strikes landed. In a straight-up showdown, Rodriguez should be the killer.

Result: Rodriguez def. Prachnio // KO (elbow and punches) Round 1 2:17

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Women’s Flyweight(125)

Mariya Agapova (9-1) vs Shana Dobson (3-4)

What a ridiculous match. Ludicrous match making. Agapova destroyed a last-minute, underweight replacement in Hannah Cifers by a first-round rear naked choke back in June 2020. Shana Dobson is on a three fight slide, having lost by a brutal first round uppercut to PRISCILA CACHOEIRA of all fighters. Dobson is alright on the ground, and should be able to tough out portions of the fight.

Predicted Result: Agapova Submission Round 2

Pointless fight, pointless brain damage, everything that is wrong about this sport.

Result: Dobson def. Agapova // TKO (punches) Round 2 1:38

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Welterweight (170)

Daniel Rodriguez (12-1) vs Dwight Grant (10-2)

A last-minute match means there is very little to analyse for a calculated prediction. Rodriguez looked solid in his second round stoppage of Tim Means, a veteran who has been able to remain effective against the rising prospects. Grant is more explosive than Rodriguez, but struggles across the long-stretches of a fight, where he is often content to sit back and wait. Rodriguez is powerful and can mix it up between front-foot and back-foot, but is susceptible to being drawn into unnecessary wars.

Predicted Result: Rodriguez Decision

Rodriguez is the more active fighter with greater output and wins based on his style alone. Difficult fight to predict.

Result: Rodriguez def. Grant // KO (punches) Round 1 2:24

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Preliminary Card

Women’s Flyweight (115)

Mizuki Inoue (14-5) vs Amanda Lemos (7-1-1)

Inoue is the Japanese Paige Van Zant. Both were plugged to be the next big thing during their early careers, but both have failed to develop the elite skillset required to be a champion. Inoue is a solid grappler, however. Like most female submission artists, Inoue favours the armbar as her method of submission. Amanda Lemos is the larger fighter but is more inexperienced and has weaker grappling credentials. Submitting Amanda Granger in the first-round was a big scalp for Lemos, but Inoue has experience far beyond her 26-years, and should be too much for the Brazilian.

Predicted Result: Inoue Decision

Let’s restart the hype train for Inoue. Inoue’s striking did show signs of improvement during her UFC debut win over the much larger Yanan Wu.

Result: Lemos def. Inoue // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️


Lightweight (155)

Austin Hubbard (12-4) vs Joe Solecki (9-2)

Austin Hubbard has laid dormant amongst the UFC feeders until his breakout performance against rising prospect Max Rohskopf. Expected to be overwhelmed on the ground by the elite grappler, Hubbard landed hurtful intercepting shots which drained Rohskopf’s gas tank and allowed Hubbard to gain complete control by the end of the second round. The controversy regarding Rohskopf’s retirement aside, Hubbard looked a fighter reborn back in June 2020. Excellent conditioning and an ‘in-your’face’ swarming style should be too much for Joe Solecki to handle. Solecki has the better striking fundamentals, and certainly can tango on the ground, but Hubbard has experienced far better strikers and grapplers and has survived until the scorecards.

Predicted Result: Hubbard Decision

Perhaps it is recency bias but Hubbard looked a step above the usual UFC feeders, perhaps Hubbard could eventually assume a sort of Olivier Aubin-Mercier gatekeeper role.

Result: Solecki def. Hubbard // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 3:51

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Light Heavyweight (205)

Ike Villanueva (16-10) vs Jordan Wright (10-0)

Ike Villanueva moves down to light heavyweight after being brutalised by Chase Sherman over two rounds at heavyweight. In all fairness, Villanueva was a last-minute replacement against Sherman and looked horrendously out of shape at heavyweight. Jordan Wright has a fabulous record on paper but it is padded at the regional level against some TERRIBLE fighters (Edward Darby 0-21; Julian Hernandez 0-10). Wright has shown that he can fight, having stopped Gabriel Checco in two rounds, but good Lord.

Predicted Result: Villanueva TKO Round 3

Both are terrible fighters. Villanueva has proven he can take at least one full round of punishment, whereas Wright was blown away in a minute during his Dana White Contender Series debut. Wright is taking this fight last-minute, and well, that’s about it.

Result: Wright def. Villanueva // TKO (doctor’s stoppage) Round 1 1:31

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌


Welterweight (170)

Matthew Semelsberger (6-2) vs Carlton Minus (10-1)

Carlton Minus is the NUMBER ONE welterweight in ALASKA! Minus’ first step up to the big leagues ended in a second round submission loss to Rick Story at PFL 2018. Returning to Alaska to fight the cream of the crop, Minus somehow enters this bout as the favourite. A fine jab is the meat and potatoes of Minus’ offence, but it is a start at least. Semelsberger has fought in bad regional promotions, like backyard level scraps. Semelsberger fights like a backyard slugger too, engaging in dangerous shoot-offs which will be his downfall.

Predicted Result: Minus TKO Round 3

Minus by virtue of being able to strike.

Result: Semelsberger def. Minus // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 30-27, 30-26)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Bantamweight (135)

Timur Valiev (16-2) vs Trevin Jones (12-6)

Another Dagestani entering the UFC ranks, Valiev is a cardio machine wrestler who has limited striking. His success is typically based on control time, and it isn’t pretty. Trevin Jones makes his debut and his first real step up to a high level.

Predicted Result: Valiev TKO Round 3

Could be a submission, but I favour Valiev to deliver some ground and poundage on route to a TKO victory.

Result: Jones def. Valiev // TKO (punches) Round 2 1:59

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌


Prediction Accuracy

UFC on ESPN 15: Munhoz vs Edgar

Winner: 3/9

Method: 4/9

Round: 2/9

2020 MMA Season

Winner: 80/133

Method: 67/133

Round: 54/133

Takeaway comments: Tough to watch, tough to predict, a night to forget aside Frankie turning back the clock.


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