UFC Fight Night Las Vegas Betting Pick: Luis Pena vs Alex Munoz

Luis Pena and Alex Munoz…Now, those are some names I can get used to typing.

Both of these two young men can wrestle well.

I worry, though, somewhat about both men. Luis Pena seems like either his cardio is weak and/or he checks out/flakes in the third round. I like his striking and, of course, his length but it is hard to rely on him as a betting favorite.

His opponent this Saturday night, Alex Munoz, is the wrestling coach for Team Alpha Male. To hire a guy to teach a bunch of wrestlers how to wrestle means he is probably pretty good…at teaching.

And they say those they cannot do, teach. Hey, I get it. I was never that comfortable inside of the ring under the lights and in front of a crowd. I did much better in the gym when it “didn’t matter”. Then, I started teaching and cornering and felt like I had surely found my niche.

Maybe that’s the kind of guy Alex Munoz is but he also wants a paycheck. If he has the skills and not fighting, he is leaving money on the table. He is preserving brain cells which is kind of a good idea also.

Alex’s first fight inside of the Octagon came against highly touted German prospect Nasrat Haqparast. That isn’t the warmest welcome ever for a fighter with just 6 professional bouts even if he was undefeated at the time.

Munoz went the distance with Nas, though, and that is something that 9/13 of Nas’s previous opponents weren’t able to do. You almost have to expect a different guy in his second UFC fight.

Luis Pena has been a “disappointment” to a lot of fans and bettors and I only put the quotation marks there to show that he really isn’t that the only reason he is deemed this is because of how much media and hype the UFC bestowed upon him before he even had a chance to earn it.

They do that and I think it screws with fighters’ heads. Hype and more importantly name recognition is everything for an up and coming MMA fighter so it doesn’t make sense for them to push the attention aside.

This fight is lined pretty closely and I have already heard quite a few arguments for each side but in my head, I have played this one out several times and I think we have a nice play for Saturday.

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for this fight. Let’s take a look at those, detail each fighters’ potential paths to victory, and make a prediction on either a winner or round total.

Luis Pena (-152) vs Alex Munoz (+132)

Violent Bob Ross! I can’t believe I made it through the introduction without saying Luis Pena’s nickname. With a moniker like that, it isn’t a surprise that he gets the hype and media attention.

He is fun to watch fight but that is where it stops.

Betting on Luis Pena is not fun!

I took him to defeat Matt Frevola and while it is still a highly debated decision, Luis kind of accepts bottom position at times and doesn’t seem to have either the heart and/or the physical conditioning to continue fighting at a high pace for the entire 15 minutes.

Luis lost a split decision to Mike Trizano back in 2018.

Mike is the closest fighter in comparison to Munoz that Luis has faced in his career. Pena fought very well but it was very close. If you’re a (-150) favorite, though, then you want to see at least a unanimous decision victory.

Heck, Pena opened at (-275) for that fight which is clearly madness in hindsight. He closed at (-290) against Khama Worthy in his last fight and we were fading him hard. By that point, I had had enough of the ridiculous betting odds the books continued to bestow upon the Violent Bob Ross.

(+190) on Worthy for a fantastic underdog win!

Alex Munoz isn’t Khama Worthy, though, and the backers of Luis Pena are noting the former’s lack of striking prowess to keep him from getting deep on the hips of Pena. Luis has good footwork and will look to land knees up the middle to the head of his shorter opponents.

Alex Munoz will be giving up half a foot in height but only 3 inches of reach. So, if he can get into the pocket, Luis will be at a disadvantage and likely have difficulty defending punches that are coming over the top.

  • Luis can win this one defending takedowns and out striking his opponent. That is the most likely path to victory for Sideshow, I mean Violent Bob. He can also win by taking the back of his opponent and/or sinking in the rear naked choke. From a center of gravity perspective, it is hard to believe that Pena can play top control for the majority of the contest and win the fight that way.
  • For Alex Munoz, he can, of course, land a big punch and put out Pena but that hasn’t been his M.O. yet so we certainly can’t expect it. I think he can take down and control Luis here long enough to squeak out a decision. Maybe it’s a split decision but the books have him at 40% so we only need to say this fight is a toss up in order to get some value on his moneyline.
Let’s check the round totals and maybe go from there.

The two men have only been finished once between the two of them and that was when Pena got caught in the guillotine of Khama Worthy in his last appearance inside of the Octagon.

I think you should at least sprinkle enough on the moneyline to cover yourself but I think this fight is going the distance. Neither one is an overly explosive striker. And neither is considered a submission ace by any means.

Violent Bob Ross is big, though. I was looking at his IG today and yes, he is skinny but take a look at him next to these monsters at American Top Team.

These are UFC guys or former fighters. King Mo-205, Thiago Alves-170, Jairzinho Rozenstruik-Heavyweight, Shoe Face-185, and Buchecha on the far left is one of the best grapplers at any weight of all time.

Luis, though, continues to be the favorite in every single UFC fight and still has yet to beat a UFC level fighter. I wasn’t sure about Alex until he went the distance with Nas. I think this fight will go the distance.

We aren’t getting any love from the books there. Reassurance, yes, but for (-200) for two Lightweights to go the distance in the small Octagon is quite the stretch.

Alex is one of the only men to take down Nasrat Haqparast and even though, it was only 1 on 8 attempts, it showed that he will continue to fight for your money and I feel pretty good that he learned and will grow from what was a scary UFC debut in which he stuck it out for 15 minutes.

Let’s throw a unit on both the moneyline for Alex Munoz and for him to win by decision. If we lose the method of victory, then we are at least covered by the plus money moneyline.

The Bets
Munoz by Decision

In Conclusion

I tell you what, Alex Munoz isn’t getting very much respect by the UFC.

Or is he?

Being the betting underdog to El Violencia Bob Ross is pretty normal, I guess. The UFC surely hasn’t promoted Alex like they have Luis but I think they are over Bob at this point or at least their patience is running out.

He looks like he could finish fighters in a variety of entertaining ways but he just doesn’t and he was the one getting finished in his last fight.

The UFC likes him or they wouldn’t be giving him fights that he can win.

The books love him just about as much also but this one is going to be hard for him, in my opinion.

Please Note:
Luis has good takedown defense but he is going to be defending for most if not the entire fight. The only thing that is going to stop Alex Munoz from pressing forward for the takedown is a perfectly placed patella or Luis Pena succumbing to the takedown and spending some time in bottom position on the mat. They both come from phenomenal camps and I’m sure each man will be prepared. I think this one is about 55/45 for Munoz because of his wrestling pedigree, and the online sportsbooks have it lined 60/40 the other way.

If the odds were flipped, I would say to bet Pena. If these closely lined fights aren’t your style, that’s fine. I would say to play the parlay of Tracy Cortez and Tony Gravely. They are (-115) on a parlay if that is more of your speed.

I feel more confident in both of them winning than I do Alex pulling off the win but he is an underdog and it turns out that in life, money changes things.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.

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