Frankie Edgar was supposed to fight Pedro Munhoz at UFC 251 on July 11. The bout fell through when Munhoz tested positive for COVID-19 hours before he was set to leave for “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.
Edgar, the former UFC lightweight champion, had a choice. He could make that long flight and take a new opponent on short notice. Or he could wait for Munhoz to get healthy.
Last December, Edgar took a short-notice fight as a replacement and fought “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung. Edgar lost by TKO. With that in mind, Edgar told the UFC he’d prefer to be rebooked against Munhoz in a bout that would be Edgar’s bantamweight debut.
Edgar and Munhoz will finally meet in the UFC Fight Night main event Saturday in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex. Munhoz is ESPN’s No. 7-ranked MMA bantamweight. A win over Munhoz puts Edgar on another title track. If Munhoz wins, it gives him a victory over a future UFC Hall of Famer.
“I’ve taken some short-notice fights or short opponent changes, and it didn’t always work out the way I wanted it to,” Edgar said. “I learned from some past mistakes, I guess you could say. I said, ‘Let’s just wait.’ I got rebooked a month later. It’s really not that big a deal.”
Edgar (23-8-1) has dropped two straight, including a featherweight title challenge of then-champion Max Holloway. The New Jersey native has long thought about dropping to bantamweight — he was always the smaller man in fights at lightweight and featherweight — and finally made the decision to do so last summer. Edgar, 38, was the UFC lightweight champion in 2011 and 2012. He was a perennial contender at featherweight after that, including competing in three title fights, all losing efforts.
Munhoz (18-4, 1 NC) was on a three-fight winning streak prior to falling to top contender Aljamain Sterling at UFC 238 in June 2019. The Brazil native, who lives and trains in Florida, owns a vicious knockout win over former bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt. Munhoz, 33, has won seven of his past nine fights.
Also on the card, women’s flyweight prospect Mariya Agapova faces Shana Dobson, former World Series of Fighting standout Timur Valiev meets late fill-in Trevin Jones, and women’s strawweight prospect Mizuki Inoue takes on Amanda Lemos.
Austin Hubbard (-105) vs. Joe Solecki (-115) | Lightweight
Dwight Grant (+175) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (-200) | Welterweight
Jordan Wright (-120) vs. Ike Villanueva (+100) | Light heavyweight
Matthew Semelsberger (-110) vs. Carlton Minus (-110) | Welterweight
Timur Valiev (-550) vs. Mark Striegl (+425) | Men’s bantamweight