Mark Munoz’s final fight was one of mixed martial arts’ magic moments. The fighter known as “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” received the sort of sendoff the fight game rarely offers on Saturday. Not only did the popular middleweight turn back the clock with a vintage performance in a unanimous decision victory over Luke Barnatt at UFC Fight Night 66, but he left his gloves on the Octagon mat after an emotional post-fight interview in front of his Filipino fans in Pasay City, Philippines. “From the days I was a kid, I remember watching cartoons and seeing superheroes,” Munoz said. “And I get to do that every time I come in to the cage. Thank you very much for the support and the trust in me, I love you guys so very much.”
The 37-year old Munoz (13-6) brought a three-fight losing streak into his matchup against the Alliance MMA fighter Barnatt. But the former NCAA wrestling champion displayed the form which once made him one of the sport’s top prospects. Munoz pressured Barnatt from the get-go, surprising him by wading in and landing big overhand rights which landed, and shooting and getting takedowns, as the Filipino crowd roared it’s approval. By round two, Munoz slowed, but it was just as apparent that Barnatt was not going to be able to kick things into another gear. In a close round, a huge overhand right which landed in the closing seconds may have spelled the difference for Munoz. In the third, Munoz, while tired, still pushed forward and continued landing takedowns and pressuring Barnatt. When the judges’ scores came in, Munoz got the unanimous nod on a pair of 30-27s and a 29-28.
Munoz, one of the most well-liked people inside of the industry, didn’t attempt to hide his tears in an emotional post-fight speech. “This is something I’ve dreamed about and I hoped for,” Munoz said. “I know I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to accomplish in the cage, but I invested a lot of time and I changed lives. “Thank you UFC, thank you Dana White, thank you Lorenzo [Fertitta],” Munoz continued. “I will cherish these memories for a lifetime. You might get hit by unforeseen things, but your life doesn’t end there, you get back up and you keep competing to the best of your abilities.”
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