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UFC on ESPN 15: Munhoz vs. Edgar: Winners and Losers

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UFC on ESPN 15 featured some significant upsets, here are the winners and losers from the event

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Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Frankie Edgar answered some questions on Saturday night with his win over Pedro Munhoz. In doing so, the former UFC lightweight champion and ex-featherweight title challenger left fight fans wondering what if he had made the drop earlier in his career.

In a tightly contested contest, Edgar walked away as the winner via split-decision. That result did not seem to go over well on social media, but alas, two of the judges scored the bout in favor of Edgar.

Edgar was one of the big winners at UFC on ESPN 15. See below to find out who joined him in that category and who did not.

Winners

Frankie Edgar: Edgar was a significant underdog in his UFC bantamweight debut and the fan favorite delivered in that bout, topping the No. 5 ranked Pedro Munhoz by split decision. The win ended Edgar’s two-fight losing skid and put Munhoz on the first two-fight skid of his career. The victory also gave Edgar life in a third UFC weight class at 38 years of age.

Mike Rodriguez: After his nasty knockout win over Marcin Prachnio, Rodriguez acknowledged that his opponent’s kicks to open the fight surprised him. If that was true, Rodriguez did a fantastic job of dealing with that surprise as he closed distance, grabbed the clinch and smacked Prachnio around with elbows and a knee before finishing him on the ground.

Rodriguez was not booked to fight in the co-main event, but when that bout fell through after Ovince Saint Preux tested positive for COVID-19. Rodriguez made the most of that opportunity.

Joe Solecki: Solecki was incredibly impressive in scoring a first-round submission win over Austin Hubbard. He used his boxing to get to the back of Hubbard, from there it was his patience that paid off. Solecki latched on a standing body lock and threw strikes to the head and the body of his opponent to try to get an opening to attack Hubbard’s neck. When that opening came, Solecki was quick to lock up the rear-naked choke and get the tap. Solecki did an excellent job of showing the mixed in mixed martial arts in getting the win.

Shana Dobson: Dobson was the biggest underdog on the card and whoever bet on her walked away from Saturday’s fight card with a smile and a pocketful of cash. Mariya Agapova could not sustain her pace past the first five minutes of the matchup and that cost her as Dobson finished her in the early moments of the second stanza. The win ends a three-fight losing skid for Dobson and it should serve as a huge boost to her confidence.

Daniel Rodriguez: Rodriguez got dropped early by Dwight Grant and seemed to take a barrage of strikes to the head once the fight hit the mat. The stats told a different tale as Grant landed only 17 of 44 significant strikes on the mat. Rodriguez did an excellent job in keeping his glove up and avoiding all of those strikes. That defense allowed him to recover and drop and finish Grant shortly after getting back to his feet. A solid performance from Rodriguez, who moved to 3-0 in the UFC with the comeback victory.

Jordan Wright: Wright did not mess around. He opened with a spinning kick that dropped Ike Villanueva early in the fight. That strike did not end the fight, but it led to him getting into the clinch and then unloading a bunch of knees that had blood flowing freely from Villanueva’s face. It was a nice, aggressive performance by Wright and it has to be noted that the scrap took place at light heavyweight, which is not Wright’s weight division, he is a middleweight.

Trevin Jones: After nearly getting finished by Timur Valiev, Jones took a minute to get his wits about him between the first and second round of the catchweight bout and went out and delivered a “Comeback of the Year” performance in the second round. After taking a beating in the first stanza, Jones found a spot to deliver a counter that dropped Valiev to the mat. Once the fight hit the ground, Jones continued striking until the referee waved off the bout.

Jones showed his toughness in the first round and his resolve in the second. After the win he declared that he isn’t a quitter — something that he made clear inside the octagon. Just an unbelievable comeback in a short-notice UFC debut.

Losers

Marcin Prachnio: Prachnio did his best to slow Mike Rodriguez with leg kicks to open the fight. Prachnio also tried to keep Rodriguez on his toes by switching stances. Neither of those things worked for him as Rodriguez hurt him in the clinch before finishing him on the ground before the first stanza ended.

Austin Hubbard: Hubbard continued to alternate wins and losses in the UFC with his submission defeat at the hands of Joe Solecki. Hubbard had no answer for Solecki’s standing body lock and his inability to get Solecki off his back led to a first-round submission. This was a very rough outing for Hubbard, who had not lost via stoppage since 2016.

Mariya Agapova: Agapova came out fast against Shana Dobson, who she was a massive favorite over, and that cost her. Agapova did not get a finish in the first round and her gas tank was empty at the start of the second round, where Dobson quickly wrapped things up via strikes.

If Agapova wants to have success, she needs to be more controlled and cautious.

Dwight Grant: Grant dropped Daniel Rodriguez early, but when the fight went to the ground, most of Grant’s strikes landed on the glove of Rodriguez, which he used to cover up and recover. Grant would have been better to remain calm and pick his target a bit better or perhaps go for a choke. Grant’s effort to finish the fight seemed to sap his energy. When the two went back to the feet, Grant got dropped by a short punch and stopped shortly after that. A little calmness could have helped Grant in this one.

Mizuki Inoue: Mizuki Inoue: Inoue gave a good effort against Amanda Lemos, but other than hold Lemos in the clinch against the fence and deliver strikes in close, she did not have much success. She was aggressive in her guard on the ground, but did not muster an official submission attempt.

Neither

Pedro Munhoz: Munhoz could have been named the winner of this fight, but the judges did not see it his way. It’s hard to see why that was the case, but it was. Munhoz delivered the more damaging offense over the 25-minute fight.

After the fight, Munhoz seemed to feel that Edgar’s name and reputation could have been a factor in the outcome. During the post-fight press conference he repeatedly pointed out that 17 of 20 media members scored the fight in his favor.

Munhoz fought well. He pressured, delivered powerful strikes — especially his kicks — and controlled where the fight took place. An adjustment might be needed in his camp to figure out what went wrong with the judging and how to get Munhoz back in the win column.

Amanda Lemos: Lemos had powerful and fast striking in earning a unanimous decision against Mizuki Inoue. She was calm throughout the fight and her combos were nice to watch. However, she got pushed to the fence and kept there for a decent amount of time and that could be a problem in the future.

Ike Villanueva: Villanueva had some rough luck in this one. He ate a bunch of nasty knees in the clinch that opened a chasm in his eyebrow and the doctor correctly waved this one off early in the first. He looked game and tough, but the stoppage was the right call.

Carlton Minus vs. Matthew Semelsberger: With both fighters making their UFC debuts, it’s hard to judge where these two stand as far as the UFC goes. Both men showed pluses and minuses, so the next fight will be the telling one for both fighters.

Semelsberger showed good power, but perhaps an over-reliance on that power. His kicks were a bit slow and easy to read.

Minus was patient and had nice snap to his jab and had some decent kicks. He turned things up as far as power and volume in the third round when he knew he was behind on the cards.

Neither man looked awful, but neither looked great either.

Timur Valiev: Valiev appeared to be on his way to a win in his UFC debut when he dropped Trevin Jones late in the first round of their catchweight bout, but he could not get the stoppage and got stopped in the second stanza.

Before the shocking loss, Valiev showed great technique and an ability to mix up striking targets well. He kept Jones guessing and did a fair job of keeping his opponent from being able to get a read on him, well, at least until Jones did.

Valiev works with Mark Henry and has a lot of experience. I suspect he’ll bounce back from this loss.