After a razor-close split decision loss to Frankie Edgar, Pedro Munhoz returns to face fellow top-ranked bantamweight Jimmie Rivera. Despite the loss to Edgar, the 34-year old Brazilian gave a commanding showcase of his repertoire, particularly in the striking department. After being re-scheduled due to a positive Covid-19 test, the two will finally get to square off at UFC Vegas 20. The card will be headlined by heavyweight contenders, Ciryl Gane and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. First, let’s take a closer look at the two bantamweight athletes clawing for a higher rank this weekend.
UFC Vegas 20: Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera 2 – Caged In
Munhoz’s time inside the UFC has been challenging. Prior to his loss to Edgar, the 5″6″ Brazilian dropped a unanimous decision to Aljamain Sterling. Most understand the level of competition Munhoz has faced, but that doesn’t erase the results or his resolve. Conversely, his opponent Rivera is in the win column, and he showed why last October when he scored a gritty win over Cody Stamann.
In like manner, both athletes struggle against common opponents. For example, each athlete struggled against Sterling. At times, Rivera’s game is contingent on controlling opponents in the clinch and taking them down, so Sterling’s style proved to be an effective deterrent to Rivera’s aggressive tendencies. However, Rivera’s non-stop pace and fast hands definitely catch opponents off guard. Notching wins over tough strikers like John Dodson have helped develop his standup skills.
Pedro Munhoz or Jimmie Rivera – The Spoils of Victory
The division is full of promise. The impending return of former bantamweight king, T.J. Dillashaw is looming, with fellow former champion, Dominick Cruz returning to action too. Not to mention, UFC Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan remains at the top of the perch looking down on the countless contenders vying for his spot.
Overall these two athletes have well over twenty fights to their name, yet seem to stutter against elite competition. At UFC Vegas 20, the chance to steal the show will be put in front of them, and the winner may emerge as the next hot bantamweight contender. Be sure to tune in on Saturday to see whether that will be Jimmie Rivera or Pedro Munhoz.