UFC Fight Night 33 preview: Five Burning Questions heading into 'Hunt vs Bigfoot' in Brisbane

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Before every fight card, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans toggle between possible scenarios and what to expect days before it all unfolds in front of their eyes. Probable outcomes, distinguishable facts and head-scratching theories are all apart of the mystique that surrounds the fights on any given night. We ask ourselves the same questions … and try to come out with different answers.

Brace yourselves for a few mixed martial arts (MMA) battles that are worth a watch from a "Land Down Under" this Friday night (Dec. 6, 2013).

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) invades Brisbane Entertainment Center for the first time ever in Brisbane, Australia, for UFC Fight Night 33: "Hunt vs. Silva."

The main event features fan favorite Mark Hunt taking on the monstrous Antonio Silva in a Heavyweight contest in which it is highly recommended to blink very few times. In the co-main event, Mauricio Rua will look to snap a two-fight losing streak and re-establish himself among the Light Heavyweight elite when he battles New Zealand's James Te Huna.

Apart from there being a handful of other notable fights worth checking out, there are several interesting storylines heading into Brisbane, including the background of specific Heavyweight combatants, alongside the search for redemption for a few 205-pound faces.

Here are five burning questions heading into Australia this weekend:

5) Is Soa Palelei undeserving of Pat Barry -- or a place in UFC?

The fight between Soa Palelei and Nikita Krylov at UFC 164 in August was not pretty. In fact, it royally sucked.

It could be that Palelei was called back since he finished Krylov in the sloppy and slow bout, yet there was a possibility that he was one and done ... even with a win. The Australian did get another chance, and he fights the always-entertaining Barry in his homeland.

"HD" will force this to be an eventful contest, since his "kill or be killed" attitude is the fairly obvious game plan heading into his fights. However, does Palelei deserve to fight someone like Barry? There could have been someone else better suited for "The Hulk," or this fight could make a lot more sense given Barry's inability to string together two wins in the promotion since his debut in 2009 (5-6 all-time Octagon record).

Only time will tell because, for all we know, Palelei could bounce back by stopping Barry ... or something like that.

4) How costly will it be for Ryan Bader if he loses to Anthony Perosh?

One would think it would be pretty devastating considering his build up.

Bader stormed onto the scene as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 Light Heavyweight tournament winner. And after winning his next two fights, "Darth" seemed appropriate for the big leagues after knocking out Keith Jardine and toppling Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via unanimous decision.

It began to look foggy shortly afterward for the amateur wrestling champion.

He lost to Jon Jones at UFC 126 in somewhat of a "Battle of the Prospects" bout. And there may not be in shame in that; however, he was on the losing end of arguably the biggest holy you-know-what moment in the past couple of years in the Octagon, being dropped at submitted by Tito Ortiz in less than two minutes.

Even if wins came easily for him against the now-departed Jason Brilz and Quinton Jackson since then, he was knocked out violently by Lyoto Machida and suffered similar fate against Glover Teixeira in September.

In other words, "Darth" needs a victory over the aging Perosh to prove he can still be a consistent player at a high level.

3) Is "Bigfoot" Silva criminally underrated when it comes to his track record?

"Bigfoot" stopped both Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem to get into a second fight with Cain Velasquez for the title, but he was dismantled just like he was the first time he fought the current champion.

That alone makes you wonder: Has Antonio Silva had the toughest back-to-back fights in the Heavyweight division?

Let us look at it in order. He started with Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, Mike Kyle and stopped Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce. Then, lost his next two bouts to Daniel Cormier and Velasquez, knocked out Browne and Overeem, and lost gain to Velasquez for the title in his last fight.

Those are nine tough opponents to have to fight consecutively. And to win against five of them is impressive.

Many wondered if Silva was deserving of fighting Velasquez again in his first title fight, even though he viciously knocked out Overeem in order to get there.

Maybe he gets another top name if he beats Hunt. And if so, you cannot say he does not deserve it.

2) What does a win do for Mark Hunt?

Both Hunt and Silva have had their share of big fights in UFC. In the case of Hunt, he fought Junior dos Santos in a bout where a win could have had him considered him in title contention, but ultimately lost by knockout.

Hunt' fairy tale story may have come to an end after that performance, although given the inspiring run he went on after UFC wanted to pay off his Pride FC contract instead of letting him fight in the promotion, one has to love a competitor who is willing to go about it the hard way.

The Brisbane Entertainment Center will erupt when the 2001 K-1 Grand Prix champion and former Pride FC Heavyweight championship contender returns to fight in Australia for the first time in almost three years. If Hunt wins, he proves that despite his mediocre MMA record of 9-8, he is not the journeyman we once believed he could have been.

If he stops "Bigfoot," we might be seeing him escalate into title contention again. With that being said, what if Hunt loses? Does that truly signal the end of his inspiring comeback?

1) Is Mauricio Rua vs. James Te Huna a mismatch or will we be pleasantly surprised?

When this Light Heavyweight clash was announced, it seemed like it was met with a sarcastic smirk or a frown from most of us who have followed the sport for a while.

Even if the middleweight-bound "Shogun" Rua has two wins from his past six contests since winning the division's title (including a first round submission loss to Chael Sonnen in his last outing this past summer), matching him up with Te Huna seemed a little audacious. With all due respect for the New Zealand slugger, the experienced Rua has been completing slightly above his league for years. And besides Te Huna having wins over skilled opponents, there are a few lesser quality foes that have left the company that stick out when it comes to his UFC career.

Maybe there are variables that we are not looking at, and that this fight could surprise those who question it by being a competitive bout. Other factors apart from trying to get Rua back on track could be that the division is looking somewhat bleak when it comes to a good base that covers lower tier, mid tier and the best in the world above them.

Is there a middle ground left between the division's fighters?

Perhaps Te Huna should be given more credit and this could be nowhere near a mismatch -- although, the two best opponents he has faced in UFC have finished him quickly (Glover Teixeira and Alexander Gustafsson).

Whatever the case may be, we hope it turns out to be a solid co-main event.

For the latest news and updates regarding UFC Fight Night 33: "Hunt vs. Silva" click here.

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