Thirteen members of the mixed martial arts (MMA) media predict this tonight's (May 25, 2013) UFC 160 heavyweight co-main event between Junior dos Santos and Mark Hunt at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
These media members have inside knowledge of the sport and a unique perspective of the fighters they have the privilege of interacting with. Before you place that bet in Vegas or with your friends, be sure to check out what those most educated about the sport have to say about the upcoming UFC 160 co-main event.
Read as thirteen of the sport's writers and reporters break down and predict Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt.
Mike Bohn (MMA Mania): Mark Hunt's career resurgence has been a great story to cover while it lasted, but I think this is where the fairy tale run comes to an end. Junior dos Santos strikes me as the type of fighter who will rebound from a loss with a strong performance and ultimately he has more ways to win this match up than "The Super Samoan." Dos Santos may not put Hunt away inside the distance, but if his fights against Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson taught us anything it's that "Cigano" has no problem methodically brutalizing an opponent en route to a decision if need be. Hunt certainly presents a more significant punchers chance than most due to his incredible knockout power, but it's going to be difficult for him to land against a taller, longer, faster and more athletic opponent. Both men are extremely durable on their feet, so look for this fight to go all three rounds with the former heavyweight champion handily walking away with a decision victory. Junior dos Santos via unanimous decision.
Dave Doyle (MMA Fighting/Yahoo! Sports): Hunt's been on a nice run. But I think this is where the ride comes to an end. Dos Santos is a huge step up in competition over the fighters Hunt has faced to date in his four-fight win streak. While everyone is focusing on how dos Santos lost to Velasquez, this is still the same dos Santos who won 10 straight fights in the division filled with the sport's heaviest hitters. Of course Hunt has a puncher's chance, but it's been a long time since he's fought anyone with dos Santos' technical boxing skills. Dos Santos via TKO, round two.
Chuck Mindenhall (ESPN): Mark Hunt's story so incredible as to sound actively fictitious. He's easy to root for because A) he packs a mean wallop and knocks guys out, B) he was destined for the ditch before a sudden four-fight winning streak made him a shock contender in the UFC's heavyweight division, and C) that New Zealand accent (love it when he calls Helwani "the little mermaid"). Junior dos Santos has a good story, too. He used to sell candy on the streets in his native Brazil. Unlike Hunt, dos Santos is no Cinderella. He's dominated a veritable who's who, and he's done it on the feet (where Hunt likes to fight). If there's a concern, it's how will dos Santos look after the beating he took against Velasquez? My guess is: Very good. JDS by second round TKO.
Shaun Al-Shatti (MMA Fighting): This is the real main event for me. Actually, it's kind of silly how giddy I get just thinking about it. Logic dictates that the faster, younger, more skilled Junior dos Santos takes this 10 times out of 10, but that's exactly what Mark Hunt wants to hear. The guy made a career out of proving doubters wrong, and it's hard to deny that the cloud of ‘anything can happen in heavyweight MMA' looms heavily over this match-up. I have to admit that Hunt's late-career revival may be one of the most fun MMA storylines I've seen in years, but unfortunately I think it's about to come to an end. It'll be a barnburner, and probably the most violent fight of the night, but dos Santos dominates a fading Hunt in the late rounds to take it via unanimous decision.
Brett Okamoto (ESPN): In a standup fight, Mark Hunt always has a shot and this will be a standup fight. One thing about Junior Dos Santos is that he likes to keep his hands around his waist. He got away with it for years because he's so quick and he counters so well, but Cain Velasquez clearly took advantage of that in their last fight. Velasquez put Dos Santos on a bicycle early and tagged him repeatedly with the jab, which would have been harder to if Dos Santos had his guard up. With the threat of a takedown not apparent in this fight, I'd like to see Dos Santos bring his hands up this time. After taking enough punches to last a lifetime against Velasquez, show off a little defense in this fight. Stick and move. Avoid that sweeping left hook we all know Hunt is going to throw. Hunt is gritty and determined and he won't go easily, but if Dos Santos utilizes his footwork and fights smart, his athletic advantage should be huge in this fight.
Dave Deibert (Postmedia News): If there was ever a time for dos Santos to display - even in spurts - his much-rumoured grappling game, this would be it. Hunt has the kind of one-punch knockout power that can drop anyone, dos Santos included. That said, should the match stay standing dos Santos can rely on his more refined technique and superior hand speed to get in, land and get out. The longer the match goes, the more he'll wear down Hunt. Dos Santos via unanimous decision.
Guilherme Cruz (Tatame): I don't know how the visa problems that delayed Mark Hunt's travel to the US will affect him. Considering he's 100% at fight night, he's can be a tough opponent for ‘Cigano'. The smartest strategy for the Brazilian would be take the fight to the ground, where he's better than the Pride veteran, but I don't believe he'll get in there with a strategy different what everything he had done so far. Hunt can pull the upset and knock him out, but I see ‘Cigano' getting the win and UFC announcing rematch with Velasquez.
Ian Bain (MMA Opinion): This is the fight I am most excited for! A K-1 world champion tackling one of the most devastating knockout artists in the UFC. A lot of people suggest speed being the key, but who isn't quicker than Hunt? I think this fight proves to be exciting on the feet with both guys trading before Dos Santos sees sense and takes it to the ground and gets a submission. Dos Santos via Submission - Round 3
Jason Moles: (Cage Potato): Mark Hunt's career resurgence ends at UFC 160. While his four-fight win streak is impressive, taking out the likes of Stefan Struve and Cheick Kongo, it's still not enough to give the aging "Super Samoan" the edge over the former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos. Hunt has moments of brilliance in the cage and it's those moments that have filled his sails with hopes. It's those moments that have made him impossible to ignore in the UFC's heavyweight division. JDS is coming off a loss at the hands of Cain Velasquez at UFC 155. It should be noted that his recent divorce at the time substantially affected his performance that night. Before that, the last time Dos Santos lost was back in 2007. After that he went on to ride a ten-fight win streak. Hunt's kickboxing and heavy hands are dangerous, sure, but they're no match for the speed and skill set of Dos Santos.
Jason Nawara (Middle Easy): I can't begin to describe the amount of love I have for Mark Hunt, last night I even dreamt he pulled out the Atomic Butt Drop maneuver on JDS, but my love for Hunt doesn't change the facts: if JDS decides to test himself against Mark's standup, JDS will lose. If JDS does the smart thing, and brings the fight to the ground early and often, I can see it being a long day for Hunt. JDS even said he would bring him to the ground and submit him, so take that for what it's worth. Hunt has improved his ground game immensely, so it's not a death knell if it goes to the mat, but still, it makes me worried. With all of that said: Hunt, 2nd round knockout.
Adam Martin (Sportsnet): The fight between Mark Hunt and Junior dos Santos isn't as much of a mismatch as some seem to think. While dos Santos is no doubt a stud and one of the best heavyweights in the business, Hunt has been on a tear himself and I think he has what it takes to pull off the upset if this fight stays standing. And I do think it will take place mostly on the feet so my pick is Hunt via TKO in a massive upset that will earn him a title shot.
Jeremy Brand (MMA Sucka): Hunt has been that Cinderella story for his last four fights. "The Super Samoan" came into the UFC with a sub .500 record and is now possibly one win away from a UFC heavyweight title shot. It's unfortunate he is going up against a very fired up Junior dos Santos in this fight, as he will more than likely be on the brunt end of some serious punches. Hunt could always land a devastating punch, however I feel JDS will be able to keep the much shorter Hunt at bay. Dos Santos by second round TKO.
Karim Zidan (The Flying Knee): Arguably the most anticipated match-up on the main card, Mark Hunt vs, Junior dos Santos proves that even 39 year-old fighters are capable of working their way towards a title shot. Hunt's assent in the UFC has certainly been one of the true fee-good stories in the organization, yet I am not sure if he is capable of crossing this upcoming obstacle. While dos Santos's stock may have dropped since his 5-round thrashing against Velasquez several months back, he is still one of the most dangerous fighters in the division and has fought tougher competition throughout his career. I believe JDS has the advantage both in the striking and grappling department and edge out a decision victory. JDS via unanimous decision.
Media picking Junior dos Santos: Eleven
Media picking Mark Hunt: Two
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