On Saturday night at UFC 160, fans of mixed martial arts were treated to a fantasy match between two of the best strikers that the heavyweight division has ever known as Junior dos Santos met Mark Hunt in the evening's co-main event.
After three rounds of exciting action, dos Santos was able to electrify fans around the world by knocking out Hunt with a wheel kick. Less than 60 seconds remained in the fight.
As a former K-1 kickboxing champion, Hunt was considered to be one of the only men on the planet capable of truly testing JDS and his boxing prowess. Considering that Hunt didn't win a single round of this fight and ended his evening unconscious, it's safe to say that things didn't go as planned for "The Super Samoan."
So, what went wrong for Mark Hunt at UFC 160?
JDS Had a Significant Reach Advantage
The most obvious problem that Hunt faced in this matchup came in terms of a reach disadvantage. With dos Santos being able to connect with shots from a safe distance, the shorter-limbed Hunt wasn't in a position to land his signature strikes.
However, that disadvantage in itself isn't what went wrong for the big man. It was another physical problem that gave Hunt fits.
Hunt Could not Match dos Santos' Speed
Those who saw Hunt vs. Struve know that Mark Hunt does not have a problem getting in close on big guys who have an unreal reach. That's because Hunt is quicker than he looks and surprises opponents with power shots that seemingly come out of nowhere.
Junior dos Santos had a definitive speed advantage in this contest. Considering that he fought on the outside edge of the Octagon for most of the fight, the former champion was able to circle away quickly and evade dangerous bombs blasting in his direction.
Mark Hunt Was Not Focused This Week
If you followed the pre-fight buildup for UFC 160, you are aware of Mark Hunt's issues with getting into America when he wanted to.
No part of me thinks that Mark Hunt could lose a fight because he wasn't acclimated to a different geographic setting, having been in it for a less-than-desirable period of time. However, I believe that Mark Hunt thinks this presents a disadvantage.
Anyone who knows anything about sports psychology is familiar with the concept that anything an athlete thinks is important will play a part in their mental clarity and focus.
Need evidence that the Super Samoan wasn't in the right frame of mind? Did you notice that Hunt had no logos on his shorts, nor a banner to hang in his corner?
Mark Hunt made the decision to compete without the financial backing of sponsors on Saturday night. What rational person would suddenly choose to have less income, especially someone like Hunt, who previously opened up to MMAJunkie.com about the importance of a paycheck?
"Of course, the long-term goal is to fight for the belt," Hunt said. "But it goes as always for me that (I want) big money. We've all got to eat. There's no questions on why I do it. I love fighting and everything, but we've all got to have a job. I'll fight as long as people employ me to do it."
Held back by physical barriers and entering the cage psychologically bothered, Mark Hunt was not primed for success in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
That being said, no excuses can be made for his performance. Nothing can diminish the impressive nature of JDS and his dominance at UFC 160. "Cigano" proved to be the better mixed martial artist and went as far as to put a cherry on top by knocking out an iron-chinned monster.
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