Hello, fellow BElitists. Talking about fights is high on my list of favorite things to do, and something i can't do on a regular basis outside of the internet. Thankfully, i have BloodyElbow and its amazing community and although i don't comment all that much, i've been a lurker for quite a while. I know there's plenty of analysis and previews out there that are better than this one, but if you decide to read it, comment, rec or critique in any way, shape or form, i thank you.
But we're here to talk about fights, and we've got plenty coming up this Friday, as the UFC touches down in Brisbane, Australia, for UFN 33: Hunt vs Silva.
Mark "Super Samoan" Hunt (9-8) vs Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (18-5)
The main course is a heavyweight bout between fan favorite Mark Hunt and the gigantic "Bigfoot" Silva. While both men are coming off of losses, this is still a pretty good fight and a must watch, in my book.
Hunt, a former K-1 World Grand Prix champion, has authored one of the greatest career comebacks in MMA and developed kind of a cult-following while doing so. Prior to his defeat at the hands and feet (or calf) of "Cigano", the man leading the #RallyForMarkHunt campaign was on a 4-fight winning streak, with wins over the likes of Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell and Stefan Struve.
Silva rose to proeminence after battering the great Fedor Emelianenko under the Strikeforce banner and went on to fight for the UFC's Heavyweight title after stringing together wins over Travis Browne and horse meat connoiseur Alistair Overeem. It was for naught, however, as Velasquez once again made quick work of the big man, scoring a TKO at 1:21 of the opening frame.
We all know what Hunt does: He kickboxes better than 90% of the division, hits like a truck and is nearly impossible to put away. Silva, on the other hand, is a BJJ black belt with a serious top game and some of the most devastating ground n' pound in mixed martial arts. He also hits hard as hell, but his defense has more holes than a sieve and, no offense intended, his stationary head is one big target. That's why, in my opinion, this matchup boils down to Silva's mindset come fight time. If he plays it safe and looks for the takedown, this is his fight to lose. If he decides to try and prove a point standing, well, it's far more likely he's going nighty night.
My pick: I've been back and forth about this pick, and ultimately i think that even if Silva takes the safer route, he still has to close the distance on a quicker, more technical opponent that has a pretty decent chance of landing something on his chin in the process. It's Mark Hunt we're talking about here, so one punch might be all he needs to get the job done. The "Super Samoan" takes it by KO or TKO in the first.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (21-8) vs James Te Huna (16-6)
For co-main event, we're treated to a fun, if somewhat irrelevant, light heavyweight clash.
One of the most beloved figures in the sport, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is a former UFC and Pride GP champion who's unfortunately on the down side of an illustrious career that was seriously ravaged by injuries. Once a violent mash-up of muay thai, above average grappling, solid takedowns and frightening ground n' pound, Rua is now a heavy-handed brawler backed up by a cast iron chin and jaded jiu jitsu, with questionable cardio to go with it. Sounds a bit harsh, but it's an unfortunate truth, even for a huge fan like myself. Time and time again we hear and read about his most recent training camps, how his cardio improved and all that, but the truth is that Pride Shogun is now riding unicorns in the land of mythical beasts.
Opposite him will be James Te Huna, who starred one of the most epic UFC walkouts ever at UFC on Fuel TV 7. The 32-year-old kiwi was only bested by top contenders Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira inside the Octagon and, against Rua, will look to add the signature win that his resume is lacking. Te Huna is a fairly well-rounded fighter, with good power in his strikes, effective takedowns and a ton of heart, as displayed in his comeback win over Ryan Jimmo.
This fight is somewhat of a measuring stick for both guys. Depending on results and/or performances, we'll be able to evaluate what's left in both men tanks. For Te Huna, it's make or break in his hopes of cracking the divisional top 10; for Shogun, it's about whether or not he can put together one last run for a title shot. All things considered, this is similar to Hunt vs Bigfoot in a way that Te Huna can either look to exploit the Brazilian's lack of takedown defense and grind out his already shallow gas tank or take his chances in a striking match against one of the most durable and hard-hitting 205-pounders out there. Keep in mind that even a tired Shogun possesses fight-changing power in both hands.
My pick: For me, this is even harder to pick than the main event. Te Huna has the tools to beat Shogun, but the opposite is also true. Given that, lately, everyone but Brandon Vera was able to force their gameplans on Rua, it's obvious that the most sensible pick here is Shogun by KO or TKO in the second round. Sorry, i'm a huge, delusional fanboy.
Also, keep an eye out for:
Clint Hester (8-3) vs Dylan Andrews (17-4): In common, these two welterweights share the fact that they were both coached by Jon Jones on season 17 of the Ultimate Fighter and have plenty of knockout power. While Hester, at least for me, was a huge letdown on the reality show, Andrews went on to beat Zak Cummings and Luke Barnatt before falling to eventual finalist Uriah Hall. Both debuted in the UFC with impressive (T)KO wins (Hester's was particularly brutal). This one has the potential to end violently.
Takeya Mizugaki (18-7-2) vs Nam Phan (18-11): Both men are decent, gritty kickboxers who will keep coming forward until the final bell. Mizugaki and Phan are the kind of fighters that will give you a run for your money in a fight. It's (probably) not going to be Fight of the Year or anything, but it's bound to have some fun bursts of offense from both sides.
Julie Kedzie (16-12) vs Bethe Correia (6-0): WMMA veteran Julie Kedzie will look to halt a 3-fight losing streak against newcomer Bethe Correia. This is obviously a "bounce back" fight for Kedzie, but she's facing an undefeated fighter who trains with the Pitbull brothers, and the ladies always deliver. Definetely worth watching.
And that's it guys. I think i overextended myself a bit, but i got caught up. By the way, sorry the huge wall of text.