The biggest surprise on the UFC 200 card was no doubt the announcement of the returning former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar which came as a shock to many including me considering the card was already full of interesting fights, however Lesnar will not have an easy task on his hands as his opponent will be the dangerous puncher and experienced mma veteran Mark Hunt. Regardless of whether the card needed Brock on it or not to make the event a commercial success and give the fans an action packed night of entertainment one thing is for sure it will sell more pay per views now that his name is attached to it, the numbers tell us Brock Lesnar is the UFC’s biggest ppv seller having headlined four of the top ten selling ppv events in the company’s history.
Mark Hunt has three wins and two losses from his last five fights, the losses came against the last two guys to compete for the UFC Heavyweight Championship Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic, the three wins all by way of knockout most recently finishing Frank Mir with his renowned walk off KO. Looking at Mark Hunt’s career and experience he has competed in 43 Kickboxing matches and two professional Boxing bouts but more importantly 23 mma contests so he will be no stranger to the big occasion although this will be his biggest fight in terms of media exposure due to the large following his opponent brings.
Brock Lesnar in contrast has only eight mma fights on his record seven of those in the UFC, although Lesnar does possesses a record of 106 wins with only 5 losses as an amateur wrestler nobody can undermine the magnitude of winning the UFC Heavyweight title with such little experience, it was at the time and still is now one of the most outstanding stories of the organizations history. Towards the tail end of his previous stint with the UFC Brock Lesnar suffered from a disease that effects the intestines called Diverticulitis, the disease kept him on the shelf for a year before returning and successfully defending his belt against the UFC Interim champ Shane Carwin on UFC 116 in July of 2010. Three months later Lesnar lost the UFC Heavyweight Belt against the young emerging prospect Cain Velasquez and subsequently Lesnar suffered another bout of the illness which kept him shelved in 2009. After another year out Lesnar recovered to meet Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 on December of 2011 the fight ended in a first round TKO loss for Brock and during the post fight interview he announced his retirement. What’s unclear is how much this disease impacted Brock Lesnar’s career and in particular those last two losses, recently he has stated that one of the main reasons he is returning to the octagon after a four and a half year hiatus is due to the fact that his body is feeling the best it has done since first being diagnosed with diverticulitis so we expect to see the best version of Brock Lesnar.
Making a case for Hunt
Mark Hunt has shown a strong preference to stand and strike furthermore he doesn’t usually initiate the grappling or wrestling during his fights which is pretty much the polar opposite to his opponent on July 10th, Mark Hunt will want to keep the fight standing and catch Brock with the scary power he carries. Lesnar is not comfortable striking and he’s very unschooled at least compared to his opponent and it doesn’t seem as if he’ll be getting much success on the feet, if it stays standing Hunt should have it all his own way. Looking at his past history Hunt does most of his damage with single short punches particularly the left hook and if Brock Lesnar shoots in without setting it up and gets stuffed in the process Hunt will have his opponent right where he wants him. The game plan should be keep it standing and close the distance to boxing range where he can do most damage and finish the fight the longer the two men stand the better it is for Mark Hunt because he doesn’t usually waste too much time in finding the finishing blow if his opponents are forced to stand with him.
Making a case for Lesnar
There’s a lot of questions coming into this fight, how active has Brock been with his training in these 5 years? is he as healthy as he says he is? ring rust?. The only definitive answer to this question will be the acid test at UFC 200. Regardless of his health the plan doesn’t change for Brock he needs to carefully set up his takedown attempts and the key word there is carefully for the reason that in previous fights against top level strikers such as Alistair Overeem & Shane Carwin he has hesitated on and mistimed take down attempts. A confident and relaxed Brock Lesnar has perhaps the best double leg in the entire heavyweight division & for what he lacks in experience Brock Lesnar makes up for with freakish athleticism, this allows him to cover distance very fast for a man of his size. The fight starts on the feet therefore Hunt has the advantage at the first bell so Brock needs to come out patient stay well away from the cage and when the opening presents itself or is created Brock needs to take him down, from there Mark Hunt wont threaten with submissions he normally just tries to get back to his feet allowing Lesnar to strike and transition freely without having to worry much about Hunt’s Jiu Jitsu.
Personally i have debated back and forth with this one, you could put that down to the fact Lesnar has been out so Long we have no idea which Brock turns up on the night, the other factor to consider is that his opponent is no pushover. Having weighed up both outcomes i conclude that Hunt isn’t an urgent striker, he prefers to take his time and set things up nor does he posses the fastest footwork & i am pretty sure he wont aggressively try to back Brock up due to the threat of the takedown. I see Hunt waiting too long and as a consequence Brock shoots in and manages to get Hunt down once that happens i don’t see Hunt getting back up leading to the most likely result,
Brock Lesnar wins by TKO (Punches) Round 1.