Marlon Vera inside the UFC Octagon (Zuffa LLC)

Marlon “Chito” Vera, still only 30, dropped his last fight, which ended a four-fight winning streak. This will be his first three-round fight since 2021, his last three fights, all being five-rounders.

Pedro “The Young Punisher” Munhoz, now 36, is 2-2-1 in his last five fights. Outside of the one no-contest – due to an eye poke – all of Munhoz’s recent five fights have gone the distance.

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Betting Odds

Vera has jumped up to nearly a -200 favorite after being available at -170 earlier in the week.

  • Marlon Vera: -198 (BetUS)
  • Pedro Munhoz: +164 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Vera’s style and power are well documented at this point in his career. Whether it is a 3 or 5-round fight, Vera often drops the first round because of a lack of volume as he “downloads” his opponent. A few other high-level fighters, namely Petr Yan and Israel Adesanya, follow this type of game plan.

The goal is to get reads during the first 5 minutes, find the tendencies of the opponent, and, most importantly, find the openings and weaknesses. Once Vera is finished downloading, he fights with precision, power, and a perpetual effort to finish the fight.

Vera tends to fight upright, with a high and tight guard, moving in short explosive bursts. He has excellent Muay Thai striking, a devastating head kick, and powerful hands. Vera might be the most dangerous fighter in the division because he can, and often does, end the fight in exciting fashion. Whether it is a front kick that reforms Frankie Edgar’s face, an onslaught of jaw-cracking punches to Rob Font, or even, going back a few years, rear naked and triangle chokes of several fighters, Vera knows how to deal damage in a fight.

The primary issue, as outlined above, is that he typically fights from a deficit. Because he often losses round 1 while getting his reads, Vera is forced to be perfect for the rest of a three-round fight or find the finish to secure the win.

Somehow, despite the wars, the longevity, and fighting in one of the best divisions in MMA, Pedro Munhoz still has not been finished. His toughness and durability are the hallmarks of his career. No matter who he faces, the style of his opponent, or the circumstances around the fight, one thing is for sure, Munhoz’s opponent better be ready for war. Munhoz typically fights with the same game plan each time he steps into the cage.

He looks to snap a calf kick out early and often, landing with frequency and damage. As he’s chopping at the base of his foe, Munhoz is always walking forward, pushing his opponent back against the cage. Once he gets his opponent trapped, and because he’s often undersized and has a shorter reach, Munhoz will throw a powerful overhand right. That strike can put anyone out cold, but if it doesn’t, it allows “The Young Punisher” to get into the phone booth where he can really go to work. In an ideal scenario, Munhoz immobilized his opponent with early calf kicks, cracked him with a powerful right hand, and forces a toe to toe brawl.

Munhoz is incredibly fast in the pocket, lands with power in tight, and typically has the edge in durability. Therefore, if given the brawl he wants, Munhoz often wins. Munhoz’s unrelenting pressure, strong takedown defense, and sneaky submission game make him dangerous and difficult to fight. His issues tend to come when opponents with superior footwork or more precise counters can exploit his linear and predictive movement and striking.


I’m surprised at the line in this fight, especially now that Vera is likely to close north of -200. On paper, this fight is tailor-made for Munhoz to win. Vera has low volume, is a slow starter, and doesn’t possess the footwork that has given Munhoz issues in the past. Moreover, Munhoz has not lost a fight without an opponent clearing 100 significant strikes landed since 2018. Meanwhile, Vera has only landed more than 100 significant strikes twice in his entire career. 

However, I like Vera in this one. While many people are assuming Vera will lose the first round because his slow style is risky given Munhoz’s constant pressure. However, the last time we saw Vera fight a linear and determined to move forward striker, in Rob Font, Vera’s “downloading” time was much faster. While he still dropped that first round, Vera ramped up his volume at the end of the 1st rather than waiting for the second. Additionally, Vera does possess the counter-striking style that should prove successful against the predictable Munhoz. Lastly, just because Munhoz has never been finished doesn’t mean he’s never been hurt.

We’ve seen him get rocked and recover throughout his career and it is more likely to happen more frequently the older he gets. I’m expecting Vera to follow his typical game plan, start a little sooner with his volume, and land the clearly more damaging shots with his counters en route to a decision win.

However, because I think Munhoz can be hurt, I prefer to bet Vera straight and sprinkle a little on him by finish. The inside-the-distance play has no historical merit but I do think the large plus-money odds make it worth a small investment. Just remember, Luque and Dober, were thought to be indestructible until they were knocked out too. Eventually, the wars catch up to the fighters.

Best Bets: Vera to win (-198) and Vera to win inside the distance (+300)

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