UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz – Preview & Event Coverage
By Justin Bolduc
This weekend the UFC ventures to the LG Arena in Birmingham, England with a free event in the form of UFC 138. Featuring The Ultimate Fighter’s Chris Leben against fan favorite UFC & WEC veteran Mark Munoz, UFC 138 will air free on a same-day tape delay in the United States on Spike TV. It will air live on Sportsnet in Canada.
Under the main event is an exciting bantamweight contest between Brad Pickett and Renan Barao, as well as top-ten ranked welterweight Thiago Alves against UFC newcomer Papy Abedi. Fan favorite Brit Terry Etim appears on the main card against Eddie Faaloloto in a lightweight contest, and light heavyweights Cyrille “Snake” Diabate and Anthony Perosh round out the main card.
The preliminary card features TUF 13 alum Justin Edwards against BAMMA and Cage Rage veteran John Maguire. Also on the preliminary card is PDG’s Match-Up of the Night featuring Sengoku Featherweight Grand Prix finalist Michihiro Omigawa against England’s Jason Young. Rob Brughton steps into UFC 138 as a late notice replacement against Philip De Fries, and TUF 13’s Chris Cope meets Che Mills. The opening bout of the night pits Chris Cariaso against Vaughan Lee.
Chris Leben (22-7) vs. Mark Munoz (11-2)
Chris Leben (12-6 UFC) enters Saturday’s bout riding a big knockout win over former PRIDE champion Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132. Prior to that, Leben was stopped by former WEC champion Brian Stann, snapping a three-fight win streak over Jay Silva, Aaron Simpson, and Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Owning twelve career wins by TKO or knockout and five by submission, Leben’s resume holds notable victories over former UFC contender Patrick Cote, Benji Radach, Luigi Fioravanti, Mike Swick, Terry Martin, Jorge Rivera, Alessio Sakara, and Edwin Dewees.
Mark Munoz (6-2 UFC) enters Saturday’s fight riding a three-fight win streak. After outworking Aaron Simpson for a unanimous decision, Munoz knocked out TUF alum C.B. Dollaway in only fifty-four seconds. Most recently Munoz earned the biggest win of his career by out-pointing Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia.
Munoz holds five wins by TKO or knockout and one by submission. He owns additional career victories over TUF 3 winner Kendall Grove, Nick Catone, Chuck Grigsby, and Ryan Jensen.
Brad Pickett (20-5) vs. Renan Barao (26-1, 1 NC)
Brad Pickett (3-1 WEC) steps into his UFC debut after out-pointing long-time mixed martial arts veteran Ivan Menjivar in the last-ever WEC event. During his time in the WEC, Pickett earned impressive victories over Kyle Dietz in a submission of the year candidate and recent UFC contender Demetrious Johnson. Prior to his win over Menjivar, Pickett lost a decision against former WEC contender Scott Jorgensen.
Pickett has finished nine bouts by way of submission and five by TKO. “One Punch” holds notable career victories over fellow UFC newcomer Vaughan Lee, Cage Rage and BAMMA veteran Paul Reed, former Cage Rage champion Robbie Olivier, and UFC veteran David Lee.
Renan Barao (1-0 UFC) enters his second UFC appearance on an impressive sixteen fight win streak. In his UFC debut Barao outworked former WEC champion Cole Escovedo. Prior, Barao won a pair of WEC appearances by submission over Chris Cariaso and Anthony Leone.
Barao, who has only lost in his professional mixed martial arts debut, has earned six wins by TKO or knockout and twelve by submission. The Nova Uniao prospect holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Michihiro Omigawa (12-10-1) vs. Jason Young (8-4)
PDG’s Match-Up of the Night
Michihiro Omigawa (0-4 UFC) looks for his first UFC victory in his fifth UFC appearance riding a two-fight losing streak in his return to the Octagon against Chad Mendes and Darren Elkins. After his initial departure from the UFC, Omigawa made a name for himself as a featherweight in Japan where he reached the finals in Sengoku’s Featherweight Grand Prix.
Despite controversy in some of his decision victories, Omigawa has amassed four TKO victories and two submissions, with notable wins over Hatsu Hioki, Cole Escovedo, Micah Miller, Marlon Sandro, Nam Phan, and L.C. Davis.
Young (0-1) also chases his first UFC win after losing his promotional debut against Dustin Poirier. Young’s professional mixed martial arts career began in the Cage Rage Contenders series before he fought once for Cage Rage.
Young has finished three opponents by TKO and one by submission and owns notable victories over Cage Rage veteran Francis Heagney, Abdul Mohamed, and Jorge Britto.
UFC 138 Fight Card
Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz (Main Event)
Brad Pickett vs. Renan Barao (Co-Main Event)
Thiago Alves vs. Papy Abedi
Terry Etim vs. Eddie Faaloloto
Cyrille Diabate vs. Anthony Perosh
John Maguire vs. Justin Edwards
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Jason Young (PDG’s Match-Up of the Night)
Rob Broughton vs. Philip De Fries
Chris Cope vs. Che Mills
Chris Cariaso vs. Vaughan Lee