The only thing more entertaining than a striker’s delight is the Heavyweight incarnation, and the heavy-hitting mixed martial arts (MMA) showdown between Junior dos Santos and Mark Hunt in the co-main event of UFC 160, which takes place this evening (Sat., May 25, 2013) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the definition of that.
On paper, this could pretty much be perceived as a K-1 bout with four-ounce gloves. And dos Santos' first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) loss in his last outing against Cain Velasquez was as one-sided a five-round beating the sport has seen in several years.
With Alistair Overeem’s withdrawal from a bout with "Cigano" because of injury, Hunt fans were enthused when the promotion finally gave the veteran the perfect big-fight opportunity he’s readily earned. Indeed, there is no better elite heavyweight match up than dos Santos, whose willingness to bang and eminent confidence in his hands makes him the perfect foil for the dangerous, granite-chinned "Super Samoan."
Don’t go to the fridge for this one because somebody is absolutely, positively getting put to sleep. This is the kind of fight you invite a non-MMA fan to see if you want get them into the sport – or so horrified by the ensuing violence that they never bother you again.
Check out a complete breakdown of the UFC 160 co-main event between Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt below:
Dos Santos showed amazing heart in the Velasquez loss, which in some ways told us more than his nine previous bouts inside the Octagon, where he basically decimated the competition with nary a tough moment. Skill-wise, he has an exceptionally good shot and takedowns, along with absolute cement hips. The latter will be completely unnecessary given Hunt’s inability to take him down, but the former could be one hell of a good back up plan if he gets drilled standing.
If he’s smart, he’ll remember that if Hunt lands one of his signature bombs.
For Hunt, he’s got to go into this fight looking to pick the right spot and exploit it. The problem is, while he’s a huge hitter, his technique is far less refined at times than dos Santos, who executes very crisp combinations with excellent speed. Hunt tends to wing his shots at times, especially when he gets tired, and thus far it hasn’t mattered because when he lands he destroys what he hits.
But, this isn’t a guy who will fold easily, nor one that can’t reply with powerful, fight-changing counters. Hunt’s chin in his K-1 and Pride FC days was insanely good, but dos Santos can put him down if he wades in recklessly.
This is an outstanding value match up, both for the viewer and for the once-improbable idea of getting Hunt a title shot, which may well earn given a big win. I look at this fight as going one of two ways – they either have a standing war and dos Santos eats a big bomb or two prior to wearing down Hunt and blasting him out in the second. Or, dos Santos plays it smart at some point and scoring a takedown, eliminating all risks entirely by getting a submission.
Sometimes, it’s better to win the fight you’re in and look exciting in the next one – if dos Santos doesn’t know it coming into Saturday night, he may learn the hard way.
However, given his solid chin and athleticism, look for Junior to score big early, eat a bomb or two, and wear down Hunt with better boxing, quick footwork and springing in-and-out with clever angles. Hunt will eventually get frustrated and bloodied, and in the second, dos Santos will explode, dropping him with a bomb and pouncing for a ground-and-pound technical knockout finish.
Dos santos via technical knockout
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 160 fight card on fight night (May 25, 2013), starting with the Facebook "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m. ET, right on through the FX-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card pay-per-view (PPV) action, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst