UFC 265 is set to be an electrifying experience for the live audience, especially for those in attendance in Houston. With one of their own headlining a pay-per-view in the city for the very first time, it’s not hard to see why. Heavyweight Derrick Lewis has a personality that attracts everyone who listens to him. Plus, his fight with Ciryl Gane is a major fight in the heavyweight division. This fight deserves all the talk.
But so does the co-main event between José Aldo and Pedro Munoz. Plenty of other fights on the card should garner your attention, but this one in particular deserves your eyes. Both of these men are only one or two steps away from becoming title contenders, despite what the rankings might say.
Aldo, for as long as he has been in the game, is still 34. And despite his professional career spanning nearly two decades, he has remained at the top of the game through two divisions. Since moving down to bantamweight, Aldo has had nothing but competitive fights against the top of the food chain. Even in his losses, “The King of Rio” has never looked out of place. He gave Petr Yan arguably his toughest fight in his UFC run. And his loss to Marlon Moraes was controversial.
Aldo enters this fight as No. 5 in the division, looking to stay in the title mix. With an impressive win against a seasoned and dangerous Munhoz, Aldo will likely see another title elimination fight.
Munhoz, on the other hand, hasn’t left the top 10 since he entered. While flying under most people’s radar throughout his career, Munhoz has already faced a lot of ranked bantamweights. And he beat many of them. Here’s the thing about “The Young Punisher”, no matter who you are, you’re going to have to dig deep to overcome him.
So what makes Munhoz such a brutal outing? First, there’s the fact that he’s one of the most durable fighters ever. All five of his losses went to decision, with three of them being split. And if that is not enough to convince you how tough he really is, this is the same man that stood toe-to-toe with Cody Garbrandt and traded right hands until Garbrandt fell first.
Then there’s the constant forward pressure he brings. There is no better example of how aggressive Munhoz is than his fight against Aljamain Sterling. Sterling, who specializes in forward pressure and nonstop attacks, fought the majority of the fight against Munhoz on the back foot. But, someone decides to stand their ground with him, he has the power in his hands to put people out. In addition, Munhoz is a black belt in BJJ, a brown belt in Judo and a multiple-time national champion in no-gi grappling.
It will be very interesting to see how Aldo has prepared for Munhoz. The stylistic match-up is a key factor in this fight as well. Aldo, as good as he is defensively, also comes forward a ton. And with both of these men’s power, the fight poses plenty of questions that the fans want answered. In the ever-so-stacked bantamweight division, the result of this fight holds a piece to the puzzle that is the title picture. If one of these men can string together a couple more wins, it’s not hard to see them right back in contention.
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