UFC 160: 5 Reasons UFC Fans Are Pumped for Mark Hunt vs. Junior Dos Santos
The UFC 160 fight card just got a whole lot stronger with the addition of two of the hardest-hitting heavyweights in the world as Mark Hunt will square off against former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.
According to MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani, the fight was put together on Thursday evening and officially announced on Saturday morning.
Dos Santos vs. Hunt will take place on May 25th's UFC 160 fight card, replacing what was originally a bout between dos Santos and former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. A groin injury caused Overeem to be physically unable to fight, clearing the path for Hunt in what might be the biggest opportunity of his MMA career.
Fans are pumped for this fight and rightfully so. Here are five of the biggest reasons fans are looking forward to dos Santos vs. Hunt.
How Will Dos Santos Recover?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
After dos Santos crushed Cain Velasquez in their first bout at UFC on Fox 1 to win the UFC heavyweight championship, most believed that he would come out on top in the rematch at UFC 155.
As it turned out, that prediction couldn't have been further from the truth.
Velasquez demolished dos Santos from bell to bell, delivering a 25-minute beatdown that few could have imagined possible. The Brazilian was handed the first loss of his UFC career and relinquished the title to Velasquez after a 13-month reign.
Now the real test begins.
How will dos Santos recover from such a tremendous beating? Will he still be the confident warrior who became the UFC champion or will he be too timid, as many others have been after their first loss in the Octagon?
We'll find out at UFC 160.
Can Hunt Hang with a Top-5 Opponent?
SAITAMA, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 26: (R-L) Mark Hunt kicks Cheick Kongo during the UFC 144 event at Saitama Super Arena on February 26, 2012 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
We've seen an amazing transformation from Mark Hunt over the past two years.
After a six-fight losing streak from 2006-2010, Hunt has revitalized his MMA career, winning each of his past four fights in the Octagon, including three punishing knockouts.
Wins over Chris Tuchscherer, Ben Rothwell, Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve have been impressive, but the real question is whether or not he can duplicate that kind of success against an elite opponent.
He'll have an opportunity to prove that at UFC 160, when he goes up against Junior dos Santos, the UFC's No. 2 heavyweight.
Dos Santos' Striking vs. Hunt's Striking and Durability
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Former champion Junior dos Santos may be the best technical boxer in the heavyweight division. But that doesn't necessarily mean that he has a huge advantage in the striking game against Mark Hunt.
A former K-1 kickboxer in his own right, Hunt can certainly stand and bang with dos Santos, and that's exactly what we expect them to do. Neither of these fighters is particularly interested in bringing a fight to the ground, so this should be the same kind of epic slugfest we've seen from Hunt in his past few fights—all of which he's won.
While dos Santos will have an advantage in speed and probably in technique as well, Hunt is one of the most durable fighters the sport has ever seen. His ability to take a beating and keep on fighting cannot be overlooked.
Winner Likely to Get a Title Shot
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Cain Velasquez is set to defend his title against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in a rematch at UFC 160 on the same night that dos Santos and Hunt will square off. With Velasquez having already run through most of the heavyweight division, most believe that the winners of the two big heavyweight bouts will meet up in the next title fight, as long they both remain healthy.
Championship implications always bring a high level of intrigue to fights, and the excitement is only magnified when they are heavyweight title implications.
A third fight with dos Santos could bring in some interest, but 38-year-old Hunt's surprising rise would be an epic tale for the media.
We Asked for It!
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: Mark Hunt prepares to enter the arena before his bout with Ben Rothwell during the UFC 135 event at the Pepsi Center on September 24, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)
Those who participated in the #RallyForMarkHunt on Twitter can take full credit for this fight happening.
Without Hunt's request to the Twitterverse to get him in the UFC 160 fight with dos Santos, this fight likely would have never happened. Thousands of fans rallied together, begging UFC president Dana White to put the "Super Samoan" on the card.
The #RallyForMarkHunt is a great example of why the UFC has become as popular as it has. We may not always get the fights we want, but fans have more of a say in this sport than they do in just about any other.
Now we get to sit back, relax and enjoy these two heavyweight warriors as they continue their quest to be the very best in the world.