After Saturday night, there probably aren’t too many people who would mind seeing a trilogy bout between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera.
On a UFC Fight Night 186 card where memorable moments were few and far between, the bantamweight contenders engaged in an entertaining three-round clash that was an easy choice for “Fight of the Night” honors. Ultimately, Munhoz avenged a 2015 split-decision loss to Rivera with a unanimous decision triumph at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
There was already a mutual respect forged in their initial meeting at UFC Fight Night 77, but that certainly didn’t detract from the quality of the rematch.
“Jimmie and I became good friends after the first fight we did a few years ago,” Munhoz said. “He’s a great guy, a tough, tough, tough fighter. For me, it was an honor to bring that fight back from the first time and now we are able to display again such a great fight. First one was a great fight, now this one definitely deserves ‘Fight of the Night.’”
Both men traded willingly for the duration of the 15-minute affair, but it was Munhoz’s steady barrage of low kicks – he outlanded Rivera by a 40-to-13 count in this category – that proved to be the difference.
“He was checking [the kicks], that’s the reason it was hurting my legs too. He was kicking me back, it was just exchanging,” Munhoz said. “That’s the type of fight that I like to do. I know he’s tough. I feel super happy to do what I love to do, especially right now during the crazy situation in the whole world, to be able to work, to do what I love to do and give the fans at home that type of fight.”
Coming into Saturday night, Munhoz had an idea that he and Rivera would put on a show in the Octagon.
“Nothing surprising about it, I already knew the type of fight that we were getting in,” he said. “That’s the reason that I was getting anxious a little bit the last couple of days, because I knew we were going to put down, we were going to exchange and trying to take each other’s head off, so it feels really good.
“It feels great. I’ve been fighting the best fighters in the world, even my losses were super close against top contenders, but it definitely feels really good to bring the victory back home.”