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Leben’s clouded vision stops main event at UFC 138, Munoz now in title contention

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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Chris Leben is a gamer, so for Mark Munoz to get the brawler to bail on a fight was a huge accomplishment.

In a showdown of top 10 middleweights, Munoz used his takedowns, ground work and relentless pace to brutalize Leben in what finished up as a referee's stoppage at the end of the second round.

"I feel amazing! This means so much, I went out there and gave it my all," said Munoz (11-2, 7-2 UFC). "It wasn't a surprise that it ended so quickly, I predicted the second round all week."

Following a rough second round, Leben was asked multiple times by referee Marc Goddard if he could see. The 31-year-old, who lives in Hawaiian, kept saying he couldn't see and the fight was waved off.

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"It's hard to fight when you're choking on blood. He got me good," said Leben, who struggled to deal with the blood flowing from a cut next to his left eye. "I was sliding all over. Kind of helped his grappling, I couldn't stick to anything. [...] Munoz is a national champ in wrestling. He's as good as they come on the ground. [...] He outwrestled me tonight."

Leben (22-8, 12-7 UFC) was brimming with confidence coming into the fight following the 27-second destruction of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132. Maybe too confident. The southpaw looked to throw huge bombs at the former college wrestling star, but consistently got caught low as Munoz worked for takedowns. {ysp:more}

"I knew I had to look out for left hand. He came with it. I had to  calm my brawling instinct and stick with my wrestling. I get to my angles, utilize my wrestling and utilized my ground and pound, and that's what I did."

Munoz scored his first takedown just 27 seconds in and landed two more during the first round. Leben minimized damage in each case and got to his feet relatively quickly.

Leben actually scored his own takedown with 2:55 left and landed some good shots on Munoz, but when the Filipino-American fighter got to his feet his opponent took a deep breath. It only got worse from there for Leben as Munoz kept pushing the pace.

Just 52 seconds into the second, Munoz scored another takedown. It stay down for the next 49 seconds and Munoz landed some bombs. Leben got up, but was dumped again with just over three minutes left. That's when Munoz landed a massive shot that opened the cut.

Blood was everywhere and the ref paused the fight to have a doctor check the cut. Leben said he could continue and threw some bombs on the restart before it hit the floor again where Munoz transitioned to a dominant position. He eventually mounted Leben and really laid a beating on him.

Munoz, who trains at times with UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva,  told Rogan and the audience he want a shot at the belt.

"I paid my dues in this weight class and I think I deserve a title shot," Munoz said. "Anderson Silva is by far the best pound for pound in the world. I give him all the respect and honor, but right now I think I deserve a title shot. I consider him a friend. Right now I would love to get a title shot."

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