The Juggernaut MMA News Report 12.05.13: Hunt vs. Bigfoot - Friday Night Brawling
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 12.05.2013
Mark Hunt faces Antonio Silva at UFC Fight Night 33 tomorrow! 411's Jonathan Solomon breaks down the fight! Plus news and thoughts on Ben Askren's new home, a former Bellator champion competing for the UFC next week and more!
UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot Preview
Where on Earth can you find Bigfoot and a Super Samoan in the same place this weekend?
Inside the octagon in Australia in the main event of the UFC's latest FIGHT NIGHT on Fox Sports 1, of course.
Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and Mark Hunt, buddies and one-time training partners at American Top Team, will brawl in Brisbane and each man risking taking on a two-fight losing streak.
Hunt earned the biggest fight of his career in nearly a decade this past spring but he was ultimately knocked out by Junior dos Santos in the third round. Even though he lost his wind by the end of that bout, he's never out of a fight as long as he can still swing his bear-like paws. Even JDS was somewhat hesitant early on of Hunt's power and anyone would be foolish not to be.
That loss brought an end to his four-fight win streak and returning to fight in his second home for the first time since 2011 (when he knocked out Chris Tuchscherer), he'll look to get back on the horse.
Meanwhile, there's Silva, the unique mix of size, power and grappling ability. When we last saw him, he was again obliterated by Cain Velasquez, although it only took 81 seconds in May for him to lose (almost four minutes last year, albeit much more bloody). For him, the loss ended his two-fight win streak in the UFC, the same streak which saw him finish Travis Browne (who suffered an injury) and Alistair Overeem (who was knocked the hell out).
Bigfoot's career in recent years is interesting to look at in hindsight because when most consider the best heavyweights in the world, he's not among the top names that come to mind. But, since 2009, the only men he has lost to have been Fabricio Werdum, Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez -- although Cormier is now moving to light heavyweight, those men are the best three heavyweights in the world. During that span, the Brazilian has beaten Andrei Arlovski, knocked out Mike Kyle and finished Fedor in addition to the names in the previous paragraph.
So, you'd imagine he should be able to outpace Hunt and club the Samoan. But, wait! What about the big(ger) man's chin? It's not exactly made of granite and it's safe to assume Hunt will get at least a few opportunities to crack him. Of course, his 6'4, 260+ frame may be too much for Hunt's stockier 5'10, 260+ frame. After all, the Super Samoan is built to stand and brawl, so if Silva is smart, he'll keep moving or at the least look to keep the fight close, distance wise, and refuse to give him an opportunity to load up on power shots.
Shogun Rua vs. James Te Huna
Please, say it ain't so.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua only turned 32-years-old less than two weeks ago and the signs are there to suggest he's got little left in the gas tank of his MMA career. People have talked about all the injuries and surgeries throughout his career for each fight in recent years. The fact that the legend is 2-4 since 2011 with wins against Forrest Griffin (who seemed to have lost that fight well before he ever stepped foot inside the octagon) and Brandon Vera, may suggest either he's withering away or his competition in defeat has been extremely tough (which it has, Jon Jones, Dan Henderson, Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen have all beaten him).
This is what brings us to tomorrow night as James Te Huna offers up something of a test to see whether Rua is actually at a point where he should step away (no offense to Te Huna). Ironically, the Australia-resident is older than Shogun but has had only seven fewer professional fights.
Te Huna's problem in his career has come in the form of submissions, he's lost four fights because of them (the other two came due to a DQ and an injury). In May, he was demolished by Glover Teixeira in the first round (losing by guillotine choke) and for the time being, anyone who considered him a top 10 light heavyweight came back down to Earth.
Like the main event above, this match-up has all the makings of a show-stealer with both men being aggressive. While James is talented with his hands, you have to be hesitant to say Shogun is giving up much power to most other fighters in the division. Grappling wise, it shouldn't be a problem for the BJJ black belt, so look for Te Huna to do all he can to keep it standing.
The Rest of the Show
- Anthony Perosh will be the crowd favorite when he takes on Ryan Bader. Perosh is usually in entertaining fights and he's actually only been to a decision twice in his 21-fight career. He knocked out Vinny Magalhaes in August. Bader, on the other hand, was knocked out by Glover Teixeira in September and a loss here would mark the first time since his incredible defeat at the hands of Tito Ortiz that he loses to an unranked 205-pounder.
- Lovable Pat Barry is always in dire need of a win it seems (…isn't everyone, though?). He was finished in under a minute early in the summer by Shawn Jordan, and his career record now stands at 8-6. He's fighting local fighter Soa Palelei, a knockout artist. He's riding a nine-fight win streak with each of those bouts ending by TKO or KO.
- In a battle of TUF 17 semifinalists, Clint Hester fights New Zealand's Dylan Andrews. The latter just turned 34-years-old last month and has not lost since 2010 (not counting the TUF tournament, of course). In his two official UFC bouts this year, he finished both Jimmy Quinlan and Papy Abedi. Meanwhile, the former professional boxer out of Georgia, Hester is looking for his second win inside the octagon. In April, he knocked out Bristol Marunde with a sick elbow.
- Recently bumped up to the main card, veteran Julie Kedzie is back to fight (6-0) Bethe Correia. The Brazilian has seen all but one of her fights go the distance. Kedzie has lost her past three fights, although she's usually in some of the more entertaining fights on whatever show she's on. Miesha Tate's clutch submission win over her last summer was my personal pick for best fight of 2012. But, no matter Kedzie's key place as one of the pioneers of women's MMA, she has to start winning. 16-12 overall, Kedzie will have to do it around the globe.
JUGGERNAUT NEWS BRIEFS
- In addition to the free UFC show tomorrow night, there will be both World Series of Fighting 7 on NBC Sports and Invicta FC 7 on PPV this Saturday.
Invicta 7, live on PPV (for all cable systems, if you're a satellite subscriber, your source will be an internet stream at the promotion's website) will see three title fights headline the card in Kansas City. Barb Honchak defends the flyweight title against Leslie Smith; Carla Esparza returns to defend her strawweight title against Claudia Gadelha and with the brand new bantamweight title at stake, Lauren Murphy and Miriam Nakamoto will compete.
Other fights on tap include Felice Herrig vs. Tecia Torres, Julia Budd vs. Charmaine Tweet, Zoila Frausto Gurgel vs. Vanessa Porto and more.
WSOF 7 is live Saturday night from Vancouver and will feature four fights on NBC Sports. Georgi Karakhanyan meets Lance Palmer to decide the new featherweight championship in the main event. Middleweights Jesse Taylor and Elvis Mutapcic will square off with the winner moving on to fight Dave Branch next year in the finals of the middleweight championship tournament. Also scheduled are fights featuring Nick Newell and Kalib Starnes.
- In a report from BloodyElbow earlier this week, undefeated former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren appears ready to sign with One FC (if he has not already by the time you read this). Last week, we learned the Wisconsin area fighter will split time training between Duke Roufus' camp in the U.S. and Evolve MMA out of Singapore next year.
While no concrete figures or details have been confirmed as of Wednesday morning, it's believed that should Askren sign with the top promotion out of Asia, it's largely a monetary decision. In the U.S., for reasons that don't make much sense, the UFC reportedly did not make an offer while company president Dana White publicly pushed him to sign with World Series of Fighting (who did make an offer).
Dana's cold feelings towards Askren are assumed to have taken hold due to the fighter's wrestling-oriented style. Despite being dominant and finishing his past two fights in particular, it's also possible that Askren or his representatives requested more money or a guaranteed title fight right out of the gate and led the UFC to balk at signing him.
Unfortunately, the One FC welterweight division is pretty barren of anyone you would believe can give him a massive challenge.
- Fox Sports broke the news that Rafael dos Anjos will fight Rustam Khabilov at UFC 170 in late-February. RDA is coming off a big win over Donald Cerrone and is considered by some to be a top 5 lightweight, but has drawn Khabilov, who may not be well known yet but boasts an impressive 17-1 record. In fact, he's coming off a 'fight of the night' performance in which he defeated Jorge Masvidal.
- Next week's UFC on Fox 9 show (12/14 in Sacramento) received a hit earlier this week when John Dodson had to withdraw from his co-main event fight with Scott Jorgensen due to injury. Company brass are seeking a replacement with less than two weeks notice. Remember, the main event features flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson defending against Joseph Benavidez.
The search lasted about less than 24 hours as former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky has been signed and will fight Jorgensen. The former Division-I wrestler has won both his fights this year since dropping to flyweight, wins over Claudio Ledesma and Matt Manzanares. He left Bellator last year following losses to Eduardo Dantas and Anthony Leone. Most recently, his win over Manzanares earned him the RFA flyweight championship, about two weeks ago.
- Controversial middleweight Rousimar Palhares has signed a deal with World Series of Fighting. According to the organization's president Ray Sefo, it took supportive comments from Renzo Gracie and Minotauro Nogueira for him to change his mind about bringing Paul Harris onto the roster. Nogueira said the Brazilian is seeking help for his behavior which cost him his job with the UFC when he disobeyed referees in order to hold onto a submission hold longer than necessary. Sefo also made sure to tell the media that a zero-tolerance policy is in play, but be on the lookout for a lot of people holding their breath when Rousimar fights again (possibly as soon as March).
- In more WSOF news, their 8th show is confirmed for January 18 in Hollywood, Florida. The main event will see undefeated lightweight prospect Justin Gaethje fight veteran JZ Cavalcante in a rematch with the new lightweight title on the line. The two met originally earlier this year and it was Gaethje who walked away the winner when cage side doctors stopped the fight after less than three minutes due to a cut which opened on Cavalcante's head. He bounced back over the summer to finish Tyson Griffin by third round TKO.
The co-main event set for January has Anthony Johnson and Mike Kyle confirmed to fight about two months after the match-up was originally scrapped from this weekend's show. Kyle broke his toe last month, forcing the fight to be postponed. Also booked is a bantamweight fight featuring the return of Tyson Nam as he meets Cody Bollinger. Nam was one of the hottest names in 2012 following his upset knockout of Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas on a show in Brazil. However, in Nam's first fight back in the United States, he was knocked out by WSOF's top 135-pounder, Marlon Moraes. Bollinger was unceremoniously cut by the UFC during filming of the latest TUF season over the summer when he failed to make weight for a fight. Despite that, he has a 14-2 record and now has a big opportunity to reverse the negative vibes people have about him from watching TUF.