Frankie Edgar finally debuts at bantamweight
Pedro Munhoz wanted to be the one to welcome former UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, to the bantamweight division. Well, he gets his wish this Saturday night in the main event of UFC Vegas 7.
Edgar was scheduled to fight Cory Sandhagen for his initial divisional debut in December but instead took a short notice fight against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. Edgar would lose the featherweight fight via first-round knockout.
Munhoz felt Edgar was trying to dodge a fight with him when Edgar had mentioned Aljamain Sterling as the first bantamweight opponent he desired. Although negotiations for a fight with Munhoz went back to April of this year.
In an interview with MMAFighting.com, Munhoz said; “We were discussing this weeks ago, even before this pandemic, but what surprised me was him saying in this interview that he was ready to fight in June and the fight that would make sense would be Aljamain Sterling.”
It seems like Munhoz is saying that Edgar was trying to duck him, but Sterling is ranked higher than Munhoz and a win against “Funkmaster” would’ve put him in the title picture.
Speaking of Sterling, Munhoz lost his most recent fight to Sterling after reeling off three straight wins. The 33-year-old Munhoz is an orthodox fighter who fires at 42 percent accuracy, landing about 5.29 significant strikes per minute. Munhoz is a versatile fighter as he has four wins via knockout and nine wins via submission.
Edgar, known for constant movement, speed, and high-level grappling, is coming off of back-to-back losses and losing three of his last four fights. At 38 years old, Edgar will look to use his wrestling to keep Munhoz off balance as he hits 31 percent of his takedown attempts and averages around 2.34 takedowns every 15 minutes. Edgar is a quality striker as well as he lands 40 percent of his strikes and typically lands about 3.6 significant strikes every minute.
This matchup is great on paper and should be very technical in the Octagon as well.
If Edgar were to win this fight, he should bolt into the top 15 of the division and most likely be matched against Sandhagen if he wins his fight against Marlon Moraes. A fight against a game Raphael Assuncao, who is a crafty veteran and has fought all the top guys in the division wouldn’t be bad either. The most intriguing fight would pit two former champions squaring off against each other, not Cody Garbrandt, but a returning TJ Dillashaw. This fight would be action-packed and fast-paced.
Frankie Edgar in the bantamweight division may rejuvenate his career, or we may see him ushered into “gatekeeper” status in the UFC. If he can still put on quality performances “The Answer” could be a problem in the division.