The first of three UFC events this month sees the Octagon travel to Brisbane, Australia, where Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva will collide in a heavyweight main event. Both men are coming off difficult KO losses to the two best heavyweights on the planet (Junior dos Santos and champion Cain Velasquez respectively) earlier this Spring. It's amazing that Mark Hunt went from losing to Sean McCorkle in his UFC debut to a headlining act in a span of three years.
Before we delve into the Bigfoot/Hunt fight, let's take a look at the other 5 main card bouts slated for Fox Sports 1. Can Shogun turn things around in Brisbane? Or will James Te Huna potentially enter himself into the conversation of top 10 LHW come next week's UFC rankings? There's plenty of intrigue elsewhere on this show and I think this will be a fun night of fights. You can watch all of the action live in the US at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT on Friday, December 6th (Saturday, December 7th in Australia). Prelims will air on Fox Sports 2 at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.
Mauricio Rua (21-8 MMA, 5-6 UFC) vs. James Te Huna (16-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC)- Light Heavyweights
Oh how the times have changed for Shogun. Once the reigning light heavyweight champion, Rua has fallen off significantly from his days as the world's best 205er and is on the cusp of disappearing from the UFC's top 10 altogether. After a spirited but otherwise clear decision loss to Alexander Gustafsson, Shogun was scheduled to rematch Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 161, but Lil' Nog pulled out with an injury and Chael Sonnen fought him at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston. That Shogun lost wasn't a major surprise, but he was dominated from the opening second and tapped out to a guillotine choke in round 1. Shogun has never lost 3 in a row before, and he'll be in enemy territory for tonight's co-main event.
Te Huna is coming off his own tough loss to current title challenger Glover Teixeira, who choked him out at UFC 160. James was filling in for an injured Ryan Bader that day and ultimately saw his 4 fight win streak snapped. Te Huna's only other fight this year was a decision win over Ryan Jimmo, in which he rallied from a near 1st round head kick KO loss to win the remaining two rounds on the judges' scorecards. The 32-year-old is known for his fearsome and aggressive striking, but is definitely more vulnerable on the ground, where Teixeira and Alexander Gustafsson have both been able to best him.
Ryan Bader (15-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC) vs. Anthony Perosh (14-7 MMA, 4-4 UFC) - Light Heavyweights
What do Ryan Bader and Anthony Perosh have in common? They both knocked out Vinny Magalhaes in the 1st round. Bader did so in 2008 to win TUF 8, and from there he rose to the brink of title contention. Consecutive losses to Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz effectively shut the door on his title aspirations, and a 1st round TKO to Glover Teixeira dropped him to 3-4 in his last 7 with all 4 losses coming by stoppage. Bader's biggest strength is his wrestling, but he's also got a powerful right hand which he's used to KO Magalhaes and Jason Brilz.
Perosh is one of the oldest fighters in the UFC at 41, but he's still going strong having won 4 of his last 5 fights. His last two bouts have been quite interesting in that they've lasted a combined 21 seconds. The Aussie was KO'd by Ryan Jimmo in 7 seconds at UFC 149, and in his return fight he KO'd Vinny Magalhaes in 14 seconds. The BJJ black belt has never been submitted in his MMA career and while the Magalhaes win was nice, it's highly unlikely he wins a striking exchange with Bader.
Inconsistency has plagued Barry throughout his career, hence he hasn't won 2 straight UFC fights at any point in 5 years with the promotion. However, what "HD" consistently delivers is exciting bouts that normally end in a finish. His December 2012 showing against Shane Del Rosario ended in a KOTN bonus, but his quest for consecutive wins was thwarted by Shawn Jordan at UFC 161, who stopped him in just 1 minute. Barry is one of the UFC's more active heavyweights, as tonight's fight will mark 3 fights this calendar year, which he's maintained since 2011.
Palelei has one previous fight in the UFC way back in 2007 against Eddie Sanchez. It was a fight to forget save for the 3rd round KO he suffered, and after the dismal UFC 79 showing he was released from the promotion. The 36-year-old went on to win 10 of his ensuing 11 fights, with the lone defeat coming against Daniel Cormier. Granted, he didn't beat any real credible top 20ish heavyweight, but he did TKO Bob Sapp, so there's your name value. He returned to the UFC in August at UFC 164 against Nikita Krylov, turning the tables and winning a 3rd round TKO of his own in a fight Dana White publicly derided for its lack of quality. Palelei has never gone the distance in his 22 fight MMA career, and a match-up with Barry pretty much assures he won't be seeing it this evening.
Andrews made it to the semifinals of TUF 17 through a come-from-behind 3rd round KO over Team Sonnen top pick Luke Barnatt. His run on the show would come to an end against Uriah Hall, who hurt him with elbows from his own guard and reversed position to pound him out for the TKO stoppage. The 34-year-old beat Jimmy Quinlan in the season finale to set up a showdown with Papy Abedi in Indianapolis this past August. Andrews was seemingly on his way to a disappointing loss, but he was able to get the 3rd round KO to make it 2-0 in the UFC.
Hester was Jon Jones' #1 pick on TUF 17, but in a surprise result he was submitted by Jimmy Quinlan in the round of 16. He was still given a spot on the finale against Bristol Marunde (with Zak Cummings unable to compete with an injury), and he made the most of his UFC debut by KOing Marunde with a standing elbow in the 3rd round. Hester himself had to pull out of a fight against Cezar Ferreira at UFC 163 with his own injury, but he's healthy now and looks to extend his professional winning streak to 5.
Kedzie and Correia were bumped to the main card when Mitch Gagnon and Alex Caceres had their bout postponed. The former Strikeforce bantamweight comes into this one on a three fight losing streak. Her UFC debut against Germaine de Randamie was closely contested but ultimately two of the judges saw it for de Randamie. Kedzie, who fights out of Greg Jackson's camp in New Mexico, is one of the true veterans of women's MMA, having competed professionally since 2004. Her best recent performance, albeit in a losing effort, was her wild back-and-forth brawl with Miesha Tate in Strikeforce. Kedzie had Tate in all sorts of trouble prior to round 3, but Tate locked in an armbar with 1:32 left to go to seal a stunning win. The 32-year-old can't risk a 4th consecutive loss or else she'll likely be out of the UFC.
Correia received the UFC call-up via injury to Kedzie's original opponent Aleksandra Albu. She possesses a perfect record thus far, but only 1 of her wins has ended in a finish. Not too much is known about her, as all of her bouts have taken place on regional cards in Brazil. From the brief footage available, she's generally an aggressive striker with a tendency to use ground-and-pound from top position. She's not faced any notable competition at all, so Kedzie is a significant leap for her, and this fight should be a good test of where both women stand in their respective careers.