It's always interesting to observe mixed martial arts (MMA) and how differently the sport is played out in various divisions, and how tactics unfold accordingly.
For example, few top contenders below heavyweight could expect to stay there for long without a proven good gas tank, while bouts below the 155-170 range, and especially down at 125-135, often resemble lengthy kickboxing matches. In fact, with the flurry of action and lack of big-time, fight-changing strikes you see at 125-135, it's obvious that the human head can take a lot more punishment from someone that size than guys that weigh twice as much.
Necks and trapezoids on heavyweights are bigger, but they're nowhere near big enough to sustain the terrifying increase in striking power the big guys bring.
That's why heavyweight slugfests carry their own brand of high-octane charm, and Junior dos Santos' thrilling third-round knockout of Mark Hunt (watch it here) at last Saturday's (May 25, 2013) UFC 160 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, was an eminently tense affair, one that unfolded slowly, bit-by-bit, giving anyone viewing more than a few gut-wrenching thrills.
It was also a nice hat tip to Dos Santos' technical acumen, as he slowly broke Hunt down, forcing the Samoan to display his unreal chin after landing some walloping right hands early, including one in the first that would've knocked out virtually anyone.
Yet Hunt popped back to his feet and merely waved Dos Santos back in.
As he stuck to a very strict game plan, Dos Santos was in dire trouble a couple of times, not from punches that landed (although a few did) but more so in terms of just escaping Hunt's terrifying bombs that whizzed by on several occasions.
It was amazing to watch, and really reinforced how tough both of these guys are.
To his credit, Hunt fought his heart out, finally succumbing in the third round to an epic spinning back kick that punched his ticket, long after he'd proven he's got one of the best chins in the game, if not the best.
In the future, UFC will definitely try and come up with more big guy slugfests. But it will take a nearly perfect combination of power, toughness and technical skill to come close to the extended brilliance that we saw Saturday night.
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