UFC 292 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Marlon Vera vs. Pedro Munhoz: Time for This Rare MMA Bet (Saturday, August 19)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Pedro Munhoz of Brazil
Marlon Vera vs. Pedro Munhoz Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-315 / +230)|
|Location||TD Garden in Boston|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday evening and via DraftKings|
Marlon Vera vs. Pedro Munhoz, which serves as the UFC 292 main card opener on Saturday, is also as a possible bantamweight title eliminator – or backup fight should something happen last minute to one of the main-event fighters on Saturday night.
Both fighters have a history with title challenger Sean O'Malley and have been hanging around the top 10 or so of the division for some time.
Vera's and Munhoz's careers had been heading in opposite directions until their most recent bouts. Munhoz snapped a three-fight winless streak while Vera lost for the first time in five fights earlier this year.
That could be the start of a late-career title run for Munhoz – unless Vera reinserts himself into the title conversation with a definitive win.
Let's get into the breakdown for Vera vs. Munhoz at UFC 292 tonight.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||12:48||10:54|
|Weight (pounds)||136 pounds||135 pounds|
|Date of birth||12/2/1992||9/7/1986|
|Sig Strikes Per Minute||4.09||5.30|
|SS Absorbed Per Minute||5.02||5.90|
|Take Down Avg||0.61||0.51|
Pedro Munhoz made his way back to the top 10 of the bantamweight division in his last contest, a fairly dominant unanimous decision win over Chris Gutierrez.
Munhoz has a long history of sending surging prospects like Gutierrez back down the ladder, but he has a chance to work his way upward with a win over "Chito" Vera.
Young Punisher" is now 36, making this likely his last chance for a title run. All four of his losses since 2018 have come against current or former champions – with an excellent track record in all other fights.
With a background in judo and jiu-jitsu, Munhoz used a steady dose of grappling early in his UFC career. He's mostly abandoned that skill set in recent years, though, instead relying on his striking.
Pedro Munhoz has some power in his hands, dropping the former champ Dominic Cruz 🔥.
— El Champ Champ (@ElChampChampMMA) August 16, 2023
With Vera being thoroughly outclassed on the ground against Cory Sandhagen, that might be the simplest path to victory for Munhoz. However, I have my doubts that he even attempts to make this a grappling match.
At 5-foot-6 with a 65-inch reach, Munhoz is well below average in height/length, but he manages to overcome that with excellent footwork. While listed as an orthodox fighter, he switches stances on occasion, allowing him to throw powerful hooks and straights with both hands.
Munhoz's a bit over-reliant on his heavy rear-hand hooks, but the variety of stances and angles he uses makes them successful against all but the sharpest of opponents.
While Munhoz has a negative striking differential in his UFC career, much of that is due to absorbing a higher volume of lower-impact shots from range, which he tends to eat on the way to delivering more impactful blows.
He's an aggressive leg kicker while simultaneously being one of the rare UFC fighters who consistently defends leg kicks.
Winning the battle of the lower body will be a key factor against Vera, who also does his best work when beating up his opponents' legs.
This is a rare three-round contest for Vera, who's been in the main event slot for three consecutive matchups. He's a notoriously slow starter who's lost the first round in six of his last seven fights. (The lone exception being his first-round finish of UFC 292 headliner Sean O'Malley.)
That's an excellent strategy for five-round fights, but it's a dangerous game with only three.
It will be interesting to see if "Chito" takes a different strategy this time around. Like Munhoz, he's a dynamic striker who receives more than he gets, but he tends to make up for it by landing the more impactful shots.
While Munhoz is the superior boxer, Vera's powerful kicking game makes him the more dangerous striker overall.
Sean O’Malley was chewing up Chito Vera the entire first round with nasty kicks and then catches one kick to his nerve and it was all over
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) January 8, 2022
Vera has solid submission skills, but he's also got a bad habit of being too comfortable from his back in grappling exchanges. Against Sandhagen, he was more focused on throwing strikes and attempting submissions rather than getting up.
While that worked for him against lower-level competition, it's generally not the best plan against stiffer opponents like Munoz.
Still, I expect this one to be contested mostly on the feet, where Vera should build throughout the fight, and he will likely use his range to land the more impactful shots down the stretch.
Vera vs. Munhoz Pick
With his more dynamic overall striking game as well as his physical advantages, Vera is a deserving favorite here, especially if this one is primarily a striking match. However, I'm not sure he deserves the -200 or so price tag as of this writing, given his habit of slow starts.
I certainly don't want to cut the juice by paying for his inside-the-distance line; Munoz has never been finished as a professional. The heavy line on the over 2.5 shows that oddsmakers expect this one to go all three rounds, as well.
While it's almost always better to be holding an underdog ticket when Bruce Buffer starts reading the scores, I think there's a better way to play this one. That would bet the spread on Munhoz, which is +3.5 (-170) at DraftKings.
For those unfamiliar because these wager types aren't widely available, spread bets in MMA are based on the sum of all three judges' scorecards, and a finish for either fighter counts as covering the spread regardless of number.
Therefore, the +3.5 on Munhoz means he just needs to win one of three rounds from all three judges. (If all three judges score the fight 29-28 for Vera, he wins 87-84 overall. However, with Munhoz getting +3.5, he'd actually win with the handicap, 87.5 to 87.)
Given Vera's notoriously slow starts and Munhoz's durability, a 29-28 Vera win seems pretty likely here. Of course, we also get the upside of a Munhoz finish or outright win on this line.
I'd take the +3.5 down to -200 while also keeping my eyes open for opportunities to live bet on Vera should this one play out the way I'm anticipating.
The Pick: Pedro Munhoz +3.5 (-170 at DraftKings)