Heavy leather will be on full display later this evening (Sat., June 10, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 110 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, as heavyweight title contender Derrick Lewis puts his six-fight win streak on the line opposite veteran striker Mark Hunt. It’s a tremendous matchup for any fight fan who enjoys knockouts and blistering offensive exchanges.
A victory over Hunt puts “Black Beast” on a short list of title contenders worthy of challenging current heavyweight king Stipe Miocic. In order to prepare ourselves for the impending action and gear up for one of the more exciting heavyweight clashes of 2017, we take a closer look at the keys to victory for both Lewis and Hunt.
1) Make it dirty...
Willingly participating in a striking chess match with an accomplished offensive weapon like Hunt may not be the best course of action for “Black Beast.” While Lewis has a background in boxing and has proven that he can be technical with his insanely powerful shots on the feet, he’s not going to outpoint “Super Samoan” in a game of tit-for-tat.
Instead, Lewis needs to utilize his raw size and power to bypass Hunt’s technical output and make the fight as dirty as possible. Lewis obviously shouldn’t flail and flap his way inside, but he needs to make Hunt feel his weight and power before it’s too late. Once he draws the veteran into deep water, Lewis should be able to connect more offense and take advantage of his gas tank.
2) Don’t forget to kick...
Even though Lewis has forged a lengthy win streak and finished recognizable names in the heavyweight division by utilizing his monstrous punching power, “Black Beast” is just as capable of landing a big head kick. Fans forget that Lewis has thrown technically sound head kicks in the past and found good success.
What makes things even more inviting for head kicks in a matchup with Hunt is the size advantage that “Black Beast” will possess. Hunt is the smallest opponent Lewis has ever faced inside of the Octagon and ultimately a stationary target that is open to eat shots. So while fight fans are hoping that Lewis lights Hunt up with a combination or uppercut, don’t be surprised if the boxer is able to do even more damage with his high kicks.
Not for nothing, but Hunt was finished by Junior dos Santos via spinning hook kick back in 2013.
1) Attack the body...
The quickest way to wilt a bigger heavyweight like Lewis is to attack the body and let the rest follow. Travis Browne proved this in his showdown with “Black Beast” at UFC Fight Night 105 this past February. Browne had Lewis hurt pretty badly by landing crippling kicks to the stomach, but “Hapa” eventually was finished by Lewis.
Luckily for Hunt, he’s just as good with his kicks as Browne, if not better. Hunt may be small in stature, but he packs serious power in his punches and kicks. The size disadvantage might even play into Hunt’s favor when launching kicks to the body, but he’s going to have to land punches inside in order to hurt Lewis like “Hapa” did.
If Hunt can do that, he may force Lewis to attack out of desperation in the later rounds and leave himself open for defeat.
2) Mix it up...
It’s no secret that Hunt’s best shots are his left and right hooks. It’s a destructive set of punches that have toppled some of the best fighters in the world, but strikes that are growing predictable and have even bogged Hunt down whenever he’s fallen in love with landing them.
In order to keep “Black Beast” guessing and defending all areas, Hunt must mix it up along the way. This would include anything such as leg kicks, straight jabs, uppercuts, body shots and even a takedown or two. If Hunt can make Lewis question his positioning and defensive capabilities, it may lead to a big opportunity on the feet for “Super Samoan.”
Prediction: Lewis via second-round TKO
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 110 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.