The heavyweight hope to put on another very violent, very high octane slugfest like they did in 2013 this November 15, 2015 at the Venue Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
The Match Up
Heavyweight Mark Hunt -275 vs. Antônio Silva +235
3 Things You Should Know
1. Mark Hunt is in shape. No really!
If you're wondering where what looks like a potential six pack is coming from, it probably has something to do with Hunt recently going vegan after seeing what happens in a factory farm. What gives Mark? Didn't you watch that one episode of Wonder Showzen?
Hunt is coming off two TKO losses; one for the interim title to Fabricio Werdum, the other to Stipe Miocic. At this point, the trouble with Hunt is purely physical. He can no longer rely on the inhuman punishment he was once capable of absorbing. And I do mean absorb. But this is the best possible matchup for him at HW to not only stay relevant, but to look relevant in front of a massive audience.
2. Antonio Silva, like Hunt, remains a threat even without the benefit of being in his prime.
Until getting matchup up with Sao Palelei, Silva hadn't won a bout since 2013. However, Silva has had nothing but elite craftsman of violence after another. Ever since his win over Fedor, he's had nothing but ranked fighter after ranked fighter. I was glad to see him get a soft touch in his last outing. But like Hunt, there are questions about whether or not so many fights against the truly elite has taken its toll.
3. More Balrog vs. E. Honda than Godzilla vs. Kong, Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva will deliver.
SILVA vs HUNT!!! pic.twitter.com/RxNdNM2EHF— Dana White (@danawhite) November 13, 2015
Despite the expected senescence his chin is experiencing, Hunt still has all the talent in the world on the feet. Chris Leben is what a really thoughtless version of Mark Hunt looks like on the feet, and Hunt was never looked like that. Mark not only possesses blistering combinations, but it's his ability to counter, and chamber strikes in reaction from multiple angles that makes him so dangerous.
The first time they fought, I thought Silva was dead meat in round 1. I just couldn't see him getting out of the way of Hunt's speed; while he didn't accomplish that, he was able to be effective in other ways. I don't think Bigfoot has every really received the kind of praise he deserves for what he does in spite of his size, on the feet. Fedor's power hadn't exactly waned when he fought Silva, and Silva did a brilliant job of covering up, and baiting Fedor with counters. Silva managed to accomplish this in spurts against Hunt in their first bout; throwing leg kicks at range, intelligently covering up, and anticipating Hunt's offense to spring his own attack in response.
The real x-factor will be whether or not Hunt has turned his newfound veganism into a cardio weapon; this was a major issue for both men in their last outing. A little stronger, and maybe Hunt avoids getting blasted in the clinch. A little weaker, and maybe Silva makes Hunt pay with those counter right hands.
Hunt's chin is crackable. But I think the specific advantage he has over Silva offsets the general deterioration as a mixed martial artist. Silva is the one more likely to continue winning the UFC. But I still can't help but think Hunt gets in enough punches to end Silva's night earlier than anticipated. Mark Hunt by TKO, round 2.