Roy Nelson vs. Mark Hunt: An Early Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Later this year, the UFC will be going back to Japan for UFC Fight Night 52, and they're going to bring a great main event with them.
In the heavyweight division, the winner of the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter, Roy Nelson, will face off against fan-favorite Mark "Super Samoan" Hunt.
Nelson has won three of his last five, all three with knockouts, and he earned a post-fight award in two of them. Hunt's last fight was a draw against Antonio Silva, and before that, Hunt lost to Junior dos Santos.
When the two of them meet in the center of the Octagon, there are sure to be fireworks.
This may very well end up being the only thing that matters in this fight.
Mark Hunt has won six of his nine career fights with knockouts and has a record of 30-13 in his kickboxing career. In the UFC, he's knocked out Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell and Chris Tuchscherer. Two of them earned him Knockout of the Night.
In his most recent fights, he has gone to war with his opponent, earning Fight of the Night for his battle with Antonio Silva and in his losing effort against Junior dos Santos.
Roy Nelson has won all of his UFC fights with knockouts and has an overall UFC record of 7-5. In his five losses, he has gone to a decision all five times. Even against guys like dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum and Daniel Cormier, Nelson made it the full 15.
While Nelson is a striker, Hunt is on a different level of technical striking, and he should have an advantage.
Grappling and Submissions
Although it frequently gets overlooked, Roy Nelson is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and holds a grappling win over Frank Mir.
Nelson has won four fights with submissions in his career, but none since 2006. In addition, he has never been submitted in his MMA career.
Mark Hunt is not a grappler in any sense, and he has lost six career fights by submission, although none since 2010. Hunt has occasionally shown the ability to get out of trouble on the ground, as he survived against Fedor Emelianenko—for awhile—and fought off four takedown attempts from Antonio Silva.
While I wouldn't expect grappling or submissions to matter much in this one, Roy Nelson probably has the edge.
Hunt has a nice advantage coming into this fight, which is that his last fight was also a five-round affair. Not only was it scheduled for five rounds, but it also went the full five, and Hunt won the fifth. He understands the cardio necessary to go the distance, and Nelson frequently doesn't have it.
Unfortunately, Hunt has been out due to injury for awhile, and by the time he steps into the cage, it will have been nine-and-a-half months since his last fight. Hopefully ring rust will not be an issue.
Roy has only been scheduled for five rounds one time, and the fight only lasted three minutes. Nelson has never had to go more than 15 minutes, and it could be an issue for him. In addition, in Roy's UFC career, if he can't knock out his opponent, he loses—guaranteed. Knocking out Mark Hunt is a tall order. It's only been done twice in MMA, and one time was by Junior dos Santos.
Another intangible for Nelson is whether or not he chooses to use his grappling. If Nelson wants to take the fight down and submit Hunt, he has that potential. However, Nelson generally chooses not to grapple, and it would disappoint a lot of fans if that's how he wants to win this fight.
If Roy Nelson fights the way he normally does—striking only—then Mark Hunt should be able to pull out a unanimous-decision victory.
It's unlikely that Nelson's chin would give out, and it's also unlikely that Nelson's striking style would be more effective than Hunt's.
There's a lot of variables in this fight, but Mark Hunt has all of the potential to win, and win handily.
Prediction: Mark Hunt wins by unanimous decision.
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