UFC on ESPN 15: Munhoz vs. Edgar Preview

On Saturday night, Frankie Edgar will do two things he has never done in his UFC career. Fighting in front of a paid crowd of zero, Edgar will make the drop from featherweight down to bantamweight when he faces Pedro Munhoz. The five-round fight headlines a 10-fight card set to happen from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Here’s a preview of the show.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (6:00PM EDT / 3:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)

Bout 1: Timur Valiev (16-2) vs. Trevin Jones (12-6) (Catchweight 140 lbs)

Kicking off the evening Trevin Jones will make his UFC debut, stepping in for Mark Striegl against Timur Valiev. The official announcement of Jones joining the card was announced on Friday, along with the announcement that Valiev’s previous bantamweight booking will move up to a catchweight of 140 pounds.

Jones fought twice in 2019, both being wins off of chokes. Being a fighter from Guam, Jones has fought internationally with his last two bouts in Russia and Japan.

Valiev will be making his UFC debut in the fight as well, carrying a six-fight winning streak into the cage. The run includes wins in PFL, one of which was over now-UFC fighter Chris Gutierrez, as well as two wins in GFC in 2019.

Bout 2: Matthew Semelsberger (6-2) vs. Carlton Minus (10-1) (Welterweight)

Another double debut will be on UFC’s prelims, as Matthew Semelsberger faces Carlton Minus. Semelsberger has won his last three, with the most recent being a first-round stoppage over Richard Patishnock from February. His original opponent was Philip Rowe, who withdrew from the bout on short notice.

Minus has competed once in 2020, defeating Schon Ellis on an Alaska FC card. Minus has mostly fought in Alaska, although his one loss as a pro came outside of the state, losing to Rick Story on a PFL card.

Bout 3: Ike Villanueva (16-10) vs. Jordan Wright (10-0) (Light Heavyweight)

Last May, Ike Villanueva lost in his UFC debut to Chase Sherman, being stopped by the heavyweight in the second round. Now back down to his normal weight class of light heavyweight, the former Fury FC Light Heavyweight Champion will welcome Jordan Wright to the promotion.

Wright, an undefeated fighter, has 10 wins down in his record, with all of them apart from his most recent ending in the first round. Wright has fought in notable promotion LFA and had a 2018 appearance on “Dana White’s Contender Series” (although the bout has since been overturned to a no contest).

Bout 4: Austin Hubbard (12-4) vs. Joe Solecki (9-2) (Lightweight)

After a successful UFC debut last December, Joe Solecki will return to fight Austin Hubbard on Saturday’s prelims. Scouted from TV series “Dana White’s Contender Series,” Solecki was added to the UFC roster in the summer of 2019. He made his UFC debut in December, getting a decision victory over Matt Wiman.

Hubbard, his opponent, will look to beat a second consecutive newcomer, as in his last fight he defeated debuting undefeated talent Max Rohskopf. The win was a bounce-back for Hubbard, who lost to Mark O. Madsen earlier in the year at UFC 248.

Bout 5: Mizuki Inoue (14-5) vs. Amanda Lemos (7-1-1) (Strawweight)

Finishing off the preliminary card, Mizuki Inoue and Amanda Lemos will battle to climb up the UFC’s strawweight ladder.  Inoue made her UFC debut just under a year ago, getting a split decision win over Wu Yanan on an August card. Now, the former DEEP Jewels Strawweight Champion will look for her second against Lemos.

Lemos made her return to the UFC last December with a win, stopping Miranda Granger in the first round with a rear naked choke. The win saw Lemos bounce back from her UFC debut, which was a 2017 loss to Leslie Smith.

Main Card (8:30PM EDT / 5:30PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 6: Daniel Rodriguez (12-1) vs. Dwight Grant (10-2) (Welterweight)

Kicking off the main card, Daniel Rodriguez and Dwight Grant will battle. Now, while these two are facing each other, that certainly was not in their plans this week. After both of their opponents dropped out of their fights, conveniently a make-up bout for both of them was made.

Rodriguez will look for his third UFC win, as his first two came earlier in 2020 over Tim Means and Gabe Green. He was originally meant to face Takashi Sato, although Sato was taken off of the card due to not clearing medical assessments.

Grant will also aim for his third-in-a-row, although he comes off a much longer layoff of over a year. His two 2019 wins were over Carlo Pedersoli and Alan Jouban. Before Friday’s changes, Grant was scheduled to face Calen Born, who had to withdraw due to personal reasons.

Bout 7: Mariya Agapova (9-1) vs. Shana Dobson (3-4) (Flyweight)

In the seventh bout, Mariya Agapova will get her wish. Following her UFC debut win last June over Hannah Cifers, she called out fellow flyweight Shana Dobson. Fast forward to now and the fight is scheduled.

Dobson will look to end a three-fight skid that dates back to 2018. Her last fight was a February lost to Priscila Cachoeira that put her record at a negative win-loss rate.

Bout 8: Mike Rodriguez (10-4) vs. Marcin Prachnio (13-4) (Light Heavyweight)

Still looking for his first UFC win, Marcin Prachnio is matched with Mike Rodriguez on the main card. Prachnio, a former ONE Championship fighter, made his UFC debut in 2018, losing to Sam Alvey. He lost again after, being finished within a round to Magomed Ankalaev. He returns on Saturday.

Rodriguez will look to bounce back from his December loss to Da Un Jung. Being finished in the second minute, it was only the second time in Rodriguez’s career that he had been stopped.

Bout 9: Ovince St. Preux (24-14) vs. Alonzo Menifield (9-1) (Light Heavyweight)

Looking to rebound off of his first loss as a pro, Alonzo Menifield will face veteran Ovince St. Preux on Saturday. Menifield was successful in his firs two UFC bouts, stopping both Vinicius Moreira and Paul Craig within five minutes. His momentum was halted last June however, as Devin Clark took a unanimous decision over him.

St. Preux’s sole 2020 fight was a loss last May, not being favoured on the scorecards in his move up to heavyweight, facing Ben Rothwell. His previous fight was in September, defeating Michael Oleksiejczuk with his famous von flue choke.

Bout 10: Pedro Munhoz (18-4) vs. Frankie Edgar (23-8-1) (Bantamweight)

In the main event, Frankie Edgar will go down to bantamweight to meet Pedro Munhoz. Edgar has been a career featherweight, having even won the UFC Featherweight Championship back in 2010. He lost his two 2019 bouts and looks to get back in the win column on Saturday.

The first of the two losses in 2019 was against Max Holloway, not being favoured via decision in a featherweight title shot. After that, Edgar lost a December bout to “The Korean Zombie,” being finished in the fourth minute with punches.

Munhzo was on the upswing in 2018 and early 2019, picking up three wins in the bantamweight division. Most notable of the wins came against Cody Garbrandt, stopping him late in the first round at UFC 235. His streak was broken in June of 2019, losing a decision to one of the top bantamweights in Aljamain Sterling. Now after more than a year of absence from competition, Munhoz is back.

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