UFC 170: Pedro Munhoz Steps in vs. Raphael Assuncao on Late Notice

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2014

Raphael Assuncao, left, in action against Mike Easton during a mixed martial arts bout at a UFC on FOX event in Seattle, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. Assuncao won via a 3-round unanimous decision.  (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

UFC lost one of its most important bouts in terms of title contention when Francisco Rivera bowed out against Raphael Assuncao, but the Brazilian contender has picked up a new opponent, according to Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com.

Assuncao now takes on RFA Bantamweight Champion and top 135-pound prospect Pedro Munhoz, a guy who can make an immediate impact in the division. If Assuncao can get by this new opponent, one has to assume he is the top contender to Renan Barao.

Assuncao had call outs from former WEC champ and UFC contender Eddie Wineland and former opponent T.J. Dillashaw, both of whom the Brazilian blew off in favor of calling for a title shot. That obviously did not materialize, as Assuncao will still have to earn a crack at the best 135-pounder in the world.

He does not get an easy opponent at UFC 170, though, as Munhoz has proven to be a legit fighter in a division begging for added depth.

At 10-0, Munhoz owns six wins by way of submission and has only gone to decision three times. Though he is mainly a grappler, he has been working with Black House and Kings MMA to tighten up his striking, which has looked better in recent outings.

He hasn't been fighting chumps, either. He owns victories over WSOF veteran Pablo Alfonso, Bellator tournament vet Mitch Jackson, previously undefeated Billy Daniels and MMA pioneer and UFC-WEC vet Jeff Curran.

He actually presents a similar style to that of Assuncao, as both men are strong grapplers with developing striking ability. This could make for an interesting fight.

Munhoz gets this fight on about two weeks' notice. His last fight was at the end of January, where he choked out Daniels in 41 seconds to maintain his undefeated status.

Assuncao, on the other hand, got a full training camp for this fight, though it was preparing for a striker in Rivera. He will have the benefit of working with that training and coming in with all his tools sharpened.

This bout will be featured on the Fox Sports 1 prelims, which lead into the pay-per-view. Stay tuned for more news on this card as it becomes available.