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The Bantamweight division plays host to an exciting fight, as Pedro ‘The Young Punisher’ Munhoz takes on the former Bantamweight Champion Dominick ‘The Dominator’ Cruz. Somehow buried on the preliminary card, and not even the headliner, these two top ten ranked Bantamweights will clash in a pivotal fight. Munhoz has struggled of late, dropping three of his last four fights. However, in that losing streak, Munhoz has fought the current Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling, the former Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and the former Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. Literally fighting Championship quality fighters, Munhoz will once again face another one in Dominick Cruz. Coming off a split decision victory over Casey Kenney, Cruz not only ended a two-fight skid, but ended a 57-month winless drought. Fighting for the second time in 2021, Cruz will look to cap the year off on a two-fight winning streak. 

Prediction

This is an important fight in not only a crowded Bantamweight division, but for both men. Pedro Munhoz, still ranked eighth, can’t afford to lose another fight. A loss would not only be the fourth in the last five, but it unravels everything Munhoz has done to be ranked within the top ten. Primarily a high output striker who’s arsenal includes debilitating leg kicks, Munhoz has in ways, shed his excellent grappling abilities that carried him early on his career. With two knockout victories in his last three wins and three ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses in his last five fights, perhaps striking is his forte. As for Cruz, he is the more well rounded fighter of the two. With wrestling to go along with his technical striking, which is guided by unique footwork and angles, Cruz has proven to be one of the most defensively sound fighters on the roster. In fact, opponents are landing a mere 28% of the significant strikes they throw at Cruz. 

As for a prediction, I’m siding with Cruz. While Munoz is the more accurate, powerful and high output striker, he has often been doomed by his inability to cut off the cage. Allowing opponents to fight at range, Munhoz has been getting hit often and is absorbing a staggering 6.02 significant striker per minute. Against Cruz, who notably fights at range, I see this as problematic. Inaccurate as he may be on the feet, Cruz has excellent cardio and is always active. In what I expect to be a fun fight, I believe Cruz will do enough to outpoint and edge out a decision victory.

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