UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) 292 has all the necessary ingredients to become one of the most talked about fighting events, with two title fights lined up.
However, moving away from the spotlight, two equally experienced veterans– Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz– will take each other on in the bantamweight division on Sunday at the TD Gardens in Boston.
Pedro, also known as The Young Punisher, has had a rocky set of fights recently but is coming into this weekend’s fight on the back of a commanding win over Chris Guttierrez. The 36-year-old unleashed his full potential right from the start, through constant takedowns and leg locks, and will look to carry forward that momentum into the octagon against Vera.
Meanwhile, Vera suffered a crushing split decision loss to Cory Sandhagen in this previous fight, which broke his four-fight winning streak. Munhoz thinks this by no means gives him a psychological advantage.
“I don’t think so (that I’m in an advantageous position). Especially at the level that we are fighting right now, anything can happen. We are fighting the best fighters in the circuit. So, the results of the previous fights aren’t going to play a role inside the octagon. I’m pretty confident and have trained well, looking forward to the fight,” Munhoz said in an interaction with Sportstar.
Henry Cejudo was initially named the opponent for Vera but the American had to withdraw from the bout due to an injured shoulder. Munhoz was then roped in, with just over a month in hand but he says that timeframe constraint does not bother him.
“Luckily, I’m always training. I don’t take a break from training. I always look to train when I get time. So, I got like six weeks to prepare for this fight, which is plenty.” he reveals.
Munhoz, ranked tenth in his division, will lock horns against sixth-ranked Vera and a win would catapult the Brazilian towards the belt. However, Munhoz underlines that he isn’t daunted about the aftermath of the clash and would rather concentrate on the controllable.
“This is definitely an extra motivation to fight. He is someone who’s ranked above me and if I win, that will put me back in the top five. But I’m just focused on Saturday.” he said.
Both Munhoz (20-7-0) and Vera (20-8-1) are similar fighters, with identical track records. While Vera has a comparatively superior eight knockout wins, Munhoz asserts domination by making his opponents submit. The only differentiating factor between the two will be the lofty reach that Vera possesses.
“My last opponent also had a superior reach; I’ve fought many similar fighters as well and I usually train with guys who have similar reach. It’s just that I have to keep my head moving, keep the guard high and anticipate the variety of kicks they might throw at me anytime. Training on the same has made me more aware of things like these,” says Pedro.
While Munhoz and Vera are fighting to get into the proximity of the bantamweight belt, there will be two distinguished fighters who headline UFC 292, contesting for the very same title. Aljamain Sterling will put his championship on the line against Sean O’Malley.
Ahead of this blockbuster fight, Munhoz says: “It’s a hard fight to predict because both fighters are very technical. Aljamain Sterling has a bit more experience than Sean O’Malley but O’Malley is not an easy guy to read. His hands are very long, have good precision, and knock out power”.
Watch the LIVE coverage of UFC 292: Sterling vs. O’Malley on 20th August 2023 on Sports Ten 1, Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi) & Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels at 7.30 am IST
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