Seven years after their first encounter, Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz met inside the octagon for the second time at UFC Vegas 20. Their main card bantamweight bout Saturday was one of the standouts on paper, and offered Munhoz a chance for redemption after losing that first meeting at home in Brazil.
Rivera had come out of the pair’s 2015 meeting with his hand raised following a split decision. Heading into the rematch, he arguably had the momentum, coming off a win over Cody Stamann, albeit up a weight class. Munhoz, meanwhile, looked to snap a two fight skid, losses that had come against some of the best names in the weight class: Frankie Edgar and Aljamain Sterling.
What played out was easily a Fight of the Night effort.
The fight opened up with both men throwing heavy punches, picking up where they left off in their last fight. Munhoz in fact went right after a high kick, trying to quickly get his win back from Rivera. When that didn’t work, Munhoz and Rivera traded calf kicks— but Munhoz seemed to lead the round in damage, as Rivera’s leg looked to be compromised at the end of the first from the swarm of kicks Munhoz had landed.
Between rounds, Rivera could be overheard telling his corner that his leg was killing him. A quick visual inspection found ample swelling after the first five minutes alone. Rivera would gut it out, and even managed to take Munhoz off his feet with a kick of his own as the action continued. As the second round progressed, Munhoz continued to chop at the leg of Rivera, who looked to change up his game plan by switching stances. The uppercut was there at times for Rivera, whose boxing looked sharp. But it seemed like Muhoz and his leg attacks were up two rounds heading into the third.
Rivera knew he had to fire on all cylinders to get a finish in the final frame, and even being hurt he showed no quit. Rivera came out throwing punches with bad intentions, looking to get a KO finish. It just wasn’t there, especially with his mobility compromised. The fight headed to the judges in what was an intense three-round fight, with a clear winner. Rubber match anyone?
Nothing but respect 🤝
— UFC (@ufc) February 28, 2021
Official Result: Pedro Munhoz def. Jimmie Rivera by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)