They're coming to the "Land Down Under," where heavies knock mens heads asunder!
Two very large men with vicious power -- and something to prove after recent setbacks -- will lock horns inside Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia, this Saturday (May 9, 2015) when Mark Hunt faces Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC Fight Night 65, which stream live online exclusively via Fight Pass.
UFC Fight Night 65 will also feature local favorite and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Smashes" winner Robert Whittaker against veteran Brad Tavares, as well as prospect Jake Matthews versus James Vick in a battle of undefeated lightweights.
In addition to the four-fight main card, eight "Prelims" undercard bouts are on the docket to set the tone.
We discussed the opening act yesterday right here. Here's the latter half of the line up:
145 lbs.: Hatsu Hioki vs. Dan Hooker
Former Shooto champ Hatsu Hioki (27-8-2) -- who throttled Marlon Sandro for that title back when the Brazilian was one of the most feared punchers in the sport -- has struggled to make his mark in UFC, losing four of his last five fights. Most recently, he suffered the first submission loss of his career courtesy of Charles Oliveira in one of the best fights of 2014.
Twelve of his wins have come by submission, though none since 2011.
Dan Hooker's (11-5) Octagon debut was, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, nasty, brutish and short as he polished off England’s Ian Entwistle with a vicious salvo of elbows. His six-fight win streak came to an end three months later, however, as he was sliced open by Venezuelan bruiser Maximo Blanco before losing a unanimous decision.
He has only ever gone the distance once in victory.
As a fan, Hioki’s UFC run has been incredibly frustrating to watch. It’s clear he’s still got some of the best grappling in the division, but he just can’t put it together. Whether it’s a refusal to actually take it to the ground enough, as against Ricardo Lamas, or cardio failure as against Darren Elkins, he’s repeatedly dropped fights to opponents he’d shown himself capable of overwhelming with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Still, he ought to beat Hooker.
The Kiwi is aggressive, durable and well-rounded. What he isn’t, as far as I can tell, is capable of staying off the ground when Hioki wants him there. The Japanese fighter uses his signature trips to put Hooker on his back and tap him with an armbar late in the first.
Prediction: Hioki via first-round submission
170 lbs.: Kyle Noke vs. Jonavin Webb
Once a bodyguard for the venerable Steve Irwin, Kyle Noke (20-7) picked up wins in his first three UFC appearances after coming up short on TUF 11. Since then, however, he’s lost three of four, most recently falling to TUF: "Nations" rival Patrick Cote in April 2014.
The Aussie vet is two inches taller and nine years older than his opponent.
Jonavin Webb (8-0) earned the Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) Welterweight title on the same card teammate Paul Felder earned the Lightweight crown, knocking out former UFC competitor Dan Stittgen in Aug. 2014. Following an eye poke "No Contest" against former Bellator champion Lyman Good, Webb choked out Elijah Harshbarger in 64 seconds two months back for his first successful title defense.
The Renzo Gracie-trained product has six wins via stoppage, four by way of submission.
This is one of my pet peeves: Having to figure out a fight where it boils down to one guy’s takedown offense against the other guy’s takedown defense. Luckily, Noke has made my job easier by being super underwhelming these last three years and being constantly taken down by Cote.
Basically, everything is in Webb’s favor here. He’s far younger, much less shopworn, won’t be coming off of a year-long layoff, and has been improving fight-to-fight in his young career. He should be able to consistently ground Noke and dominate him once there for a clear decision win.
Prediction: Webb via unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Dan Kelly vs. Sam Alvey
Dan Kelly (9-0) -- a four-time member of the Austrailian Judo squad -- suffered an early exit from TUF: "Nations" courtesy of Sheldon Westcott’s submission prowess. He’s been more successful in the UFC proper, though, defeating Luke Zachrich and Patrick Walsh since Nov. 2014.
He has stopped seven opponents, five by form of submission.
Sam Alvey (25-6) fell short on TUF 19 and lost to Tom Watson in his Octagon debut, but has since roared back into contention with a pair of brutal knockouts. His last time out, he blew away hulking Brazilian Cezar "Mutante" with pretty much the first punches he threw for his seventeenth pro knockout.
He is two inches taller than his opponent and has won six of his last seven, five by knockout.
I’ll admit that Kelly did surprise me against Zachrich. Then he lived down to my expectations again against Walsh. He looked every bit of 38 years old, awkward and hittable in his striking with his well-credentialed Judo nowhere to be seen.
Frankly, I think Alvey’s going to blow his doors off.
Alvey is his own worst enemy, giving away early rounds due to inactivity. Once he gets going, though, he’s got an iron jaw and bricks for hands, plus decent takedown defense. I say Kelly finds some success for about two or three minutes before a big left hand from the "Smilin’ One" turns out his lights.
Prediction: Alvey via first-round knockout
115 lbs.: Bec Rawlings vs. Lisa Ellis
Ranked No. 8 on TUF 20, Bec Rawlings (5-4) had a stroke of misfortune when No. 9-ranked Justine Kish suffered an injury, prompting Tecia Torres to re-enter the competition and defeat Rawlings by unanimous decision. At the Finale, she took on rival Heather Jo Clark and wound up on the wrong end of an upset courtesy of Clark’s wrestling.
She stands two inches taller than Lisa Ellis (15-9) at 5’6."
Perhaps best-known for her bloody bout with Jessica Penne, Ellis faced Penne once again on TUF 20’s opening round, tapping to a rear-naked choke just 74 seconds in. She got the opportunity to headline the Prelims on the Finale, where she was submitted by Felice Herrig in the second round.
Eleven of her pro wins are by submission.
I have no love for Rawlings and was delighted when she lost to Clark on the Finale. Further, I recognize that most of Ellis’ losses have come to elite fighters like Megumi Fujii, Jessica Aguilar and Jessica Penne.
That said, Ellis really hasn’t shown me much.
The 24-fight veteran got trucked immediately by Penne in the rematch and was soundly outgrappled by Herrig. Such struggles in what is ostensibly her wheelhouse don’t give me hope for her prospects. Rawlings should have a sizeable edge on the feet with her high-volume attack and her scrambling and takedown defense should be enough to make that the deciding factor.
Rawlings wins an increasingly one-sided decision in a mostly stand up affair.
Prediction: Rawlings via unanimous decision
Two seriously big hitters with a history of great fights. This one's worth staying up for fight fans.
See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 65 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. ET right on through the Fight Pass main card at 11 p.m. ET.