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Dominick Cruz's victory over Pedro Munhoz was decisive, but not without adversity. The veteran had to survive an early knockdown in the opening round of their UFC 269 preliminary fight.

Cruz suffered a bad stumble in Round 1 leading to a blitz by Munhoz that dropped the former champion. Cruz scrambled his way out of ground-and-pound and submission attempts but clearly lost the fight's opening frame. Cruz (24-3) better utilized his trademark footwork in the subsequent two rounds to stifle his power-punching opponent. It was Cruz's uptick in aggression, however, that really secured him the final two frames. "The Dominator" landed regularly on Munhoz, sitting down on punches and throwing in combinations. 

"Thank you to the ref, Marc Goddard, for giving me a chance to rebound," Cruz told Joe Rogan after the fight -- a jab at referee Keith Peterson, who Cruz previously accused of poor referring in his fight against Cejudo. "That's good reffing tonight."

Munhoz (19-7, 1 NC) has now suffered consecutive losses to two former UFC champions: Cruz and longtime featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo. He is 2-4 in the last two calendar years.

Cruz (24-3) now rides his first win streak in five years. The bantamweight kingpin of old holds decision victories over Munhoz and Kenney following back-to-back losses to Henry Cejudo and Cody Garbrandt. 

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