Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Mark Hunt looked to get back into the win column last night (May 9, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 65 inside the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia.
Though he lost a decision to former champion Junior dos Santos, that performance solidified Miocic as a top-tier heavyweight. To maintain that position and get right back in the title hunt, Miocic needed a strong showing opposite "The Super Samoan."
Heading into this bout, Hunt had lost his last two match ups to elite heavyweights. He put forth pretty good performances in both bouts, but he ultimately came up short. Last night, Hunt was looking to end that pattern and come out on top.
Unfortunately, this was his worst loss yet.
Hunt opened the bout with some kicks, which Miocic countered with a nice high crotch takedown. However, Hunt slickly used a butterfly hook to immediately get back to his feet. From standing, Hunt continually looked for his left hook while Miocic looked to bounce in-and-out with punches.
At about the halfway point in the round, Miocic landed a second single leg takedown. This time, he maintained top position and landed some good shots from the half guard for most of the round. Hunt scrambled back to his feet at the end of the round, but the first undoubtedly went to Miocic.
Outside of a last second flurry, the second round was all Miocic. The Ohio-native did an excellent job mixing up his boxing, clinch work, and takedowns. Together, all these elements of Miocic's game kept his opponent off-balance and opened him up to shots. In addition, Miocic's pace seemed to be wearing on his opponent, as Hunt was fairly exhausted.
Miocic opened the third round with an early takedown, landing in half guard once again. From there, he battered Hunt for much of the round. As Hunt attempted to stand up, Miocic took him back down and moved into the mount. In that dominant position, Miocic delivered a ton of punches and elbows, nearly securing a finish a couple of times.
Hunt showed serious heart in surviving, but it appeared that the "Super Samoan" was nearing the end of the road.
Once again, Miocic opened the round with an easy takedown. Back in the half guard, Miocic continued to brutalize his opponent with hard elbows and punches. Hunt kept moving but was unable to do much except deflect some of the punches.
With about a minute remaining, Hunt miraculously got back to his feet and resisted a takedown from Miocic. It didn't gain him anything -- Miocic just pounded away from within the clinch -- but it impressive accomplishment considering his level of fatigue.
The fifth round was more of the same. Mercifully, the referee finally called the bout after a series of ground strikes -- much like many others across the fight -- and the bout was brought to a close.
This was an absurdly dominant win for Miocic. Early on, he avoided the majority of Hunt's power punches, which is when Hunt is at his most dangerous. Once his opponent was tired, Miocic continued to follow his game plan and work over Hunt with ground strikes.
Still, I have to make some complaints.
While the overall fluidity of Miocic's transitions between his boxing, takedowns, and clinch work was excellent, it really should not have taken him so long to finish Hunt. By the end of the second, Hunt could barely move. Miocic continuously landed solid strikes, but he rarely tried to move into a truly dominant position. Additionally, he barely flirted with the idea of a submission attempt.
It really shouldn't have been that difficult for Miocic, an elite heavyweight, to finish a bone-tired kickboxer in his early 40s.
Regardless, this is a big win for Miocic. Off the strength of this victory, Miocic has potentially earned a title shot. At worst, he's set up for a title eliminator with the victor of Travis Browne vs. Andrei Arlovski.
This performance marks a definitive end to Hunt's time as a contender. In order to defeat Miocic, Hunt needed to either secure an early finish or do serious damage in the opening couple rounds, which would've helped keep his opponent from out-pacing Hunt so severely.
When that didn't happen, it got ugly real quick.
Speaking of which, this is perhaps the most obvious case of a fight in which a fighter's corner should have called the bout. The fight should have ended a round or two earlier, but it instead dragged on for no real reason.
Leaving Hunt -- who's taken plenty of damage across his career -- to absorb a lot of unnecessary shots.
For his next opponent, Hunt needs a serious step back. This was a brutal loss, and there's no reason for "Super Samoan" to be put back in there with another elite fighter.
At UFC Fight Night 65, Stipe Miocic put a beat down on his opponent across five rounds. Can the boxer make his way to a UFC title?
For complete UFC Fight Night 65 "Miocic vs Hunt" fight results and play-by-play, click HERE!