UFC 138 preview: Mark Munoz looks to put the stamp on Chris “The Crippler” Leben

Mark Munoz(left) will face Chris Leben at UFC 138

The UFC 138 event will be headlined by a middleweight matchup between Mark Munoz and Chris Leben that will take place in the United Kingdom. It will be the first official non-title five round fight in UFC history, but probably has a good chance ending before that as both fighters fight aggressively. Let’s see how this one shakes out.

Chris Leben comes into this fight with a career record of (22-7) with 12 wins via TKO/KO and 5 wins via submission. Leben was last seen in action knocking out MMA legend Wanderlei Silva back at UFC 132. He has won 4 out of his last 5 while finishing 3 of those opponents. Leben is known for his granite chin and knockout power, but is well versed on the ground in jiu-jitsu as well. The knock on Leben is that his cardio is an issue at times and his takedown defense isn’t the best at times.

Mark Munoz comes into this fight with a career record of (11-2) with 5 wins via TKO/KO. Munoz was last seen in action winning a close decision over Demian Maia back at UFC 131. Munoz has won 6 out of his last 7 fights with his only loss coming to former #1 contender Yushin Okami via split decision. Munoz has good power in his hands, elite wrestling, and good ground and pound. Munoz has no real big weaknesses, but has been knocked out once in his career while he was fighting as a undersized light heavyweight.

Bet on Fighting has Munoz as the betting favorite at (-255) and Leben as the underdog at (+205).

I agree with those odds. Munoz has more ways to win this fight whereas Leben’s only realistic chance is to catch Munoz with a big punch and then put him away. Munoz can take Leben down and pound him out, grind out a decision with his wrestling, or could possibly hit him with a big punch and rock Leben before putting him away.

If Munoz wanted to he could strike just enough to set up his takedowns and put Leben on his back. He would have no problems taking Leben down if that’s what the gameplan was. That’s the smart thing to do as there is no sense in standing and trading with the heavy handed Leben and risk getting caught with a big punch. He should take Leben down and pound him out, and it’s pretty much that simple. While Leben is versed in submissions, Munoz should be fine while he in top position.

Leben simply needs to keep the fight on the feet and throw bombs like he usually does. Munoz may feel the pressure to fight an exciting fight being that he’s in a UFC main event for the very first time. He is also trying to make a case that he should be in line for a title shot against Anderson Silva as he is the highest rank middleweight that hasn’t faced Silva. ┬áLeben has actually been in this position as he headlined UFC 89 in the United Kingdom against Michael Bisping, so that experience could prove valuable. However, I expect Munoz to be able to come away with the win.

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