Every couple of months, a fight comes around that makes me glad that I became interested in this sport. Sometimes it’s a ground battle of superior submission artists. Sometimes it’s a five-round war between two unknown fighters that catapult their careers into the limelight. But this time it’s a clash of two men with rockets in their hands and brick-wall chins. I’ve guaranteed knockouts before and been wrong by a mile, but this fight has to end in a finish. It’s only right and fair and I would almost feel cheated if it didn’t because we all secretly want to see one of these fabled chins cracked.

Now I know that both of these fighters have been knocked out before, but the spectacle of seeing the heaviest-handed men in the largest division try and pummel each other to unconsciousness remains.

Mark Hunt’s situation is a little different than Roy Nelson’s. Hunt is coming off a fight of year contender with Antonio Silva where both men gave their best shots and took many in return. Before that, he was knocked out by a Junior Dos Santos hook kick after two rounds of bludgeoning. He’s on a decline. Hunt hasn’t had his chin tested this much during his career in such a short span of time. While Nelson has looked overmatched against Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic, his chin has held up in those contests. However, Hunt still holds an advantage over Nelson in the area where this fight is most likely to take place.

On the feet, Hunt has shown to have a much more diverse and effective striking game. He throws kicks to the legs and the head, which could surprise Nelson during the fight. Along with those are a multitude of hooks, jabs, straights and uppercuts. Hunt always looks comfortable while on his feet and if he uses this array of weapons, he can pick Nelson apart. However, he will have to watch out for the big overhand right of big country. Nelson has been knocking out contenders and pretenders with his right hand for years. and if Hunt gets lazy, Nelson will find his chin.

This brings me to my next point. Both men are extremely hittable. Junior Dos Santos can attest to that as he battered both men. In their losses, both fighters look overmatched against men who are quicker and more accurate. So if one man is able to use superior footwork and angles, I think that he would emerge victorious. Whoever moves straight back or stands flat-footed is going to get hit hard. I think that Hunt holds a slight advantage over Nelson in this department, but big county certainly has the skills to go toe to toe and win.

I’d like to mention that while there are fights between excellent stand-up fighters that become grappling battles, I don’t think this will become one. However, there is always a chance and I believe that the ground is where Roy Nelson has his best chance to win. It is often forgotten that Roy Nelson is a brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. Nelson won many fights in the early part of his career via submissions. He is surprisingly strong and can definitely take Mark Hunt down and put him in an arm-triangle choke. Hunt’s ground defense has definitely improved, but he hasn’t been forced to work and constantly defend off of his back. If Nelson looks to land ground and pound or a submission, then Mark Hunt might have a long night ahead of him.

Overall, I think that Hunt gets the job done on the feet and knocks out Nelson. Both men are pretty evenly matched on the feet but I believe the stubbornness of Nelson will prove his undoing.

The pick: Hunt by KO in the 2nd round.

 

By Andrew Jerrick
ProFightingFans & DFN Sports MMA Staff Writer

Asia has long produced a string of top class fighting talent but August 3rd sees perhaps the biggest name to ever come from the region taking his shot at ultimate glory in the sport. Chan Sung Jung, the Korean Zombie, takes on Jose Aldo in Rio de Janeiro in UFC 163 and both Bodog South Korea and MMA fans that enjoy occasionally betting on sports feel that he has a very good chance of taking home the featherweight championship belt at UFC 163 and becoming the first ever Asian UFC champion. The betting lines have become blurred ever since Anderson Silva’s somewhat self-inflicted defeat against Chris Weidman and even though the Bodog sportsbook review marks Aldo as the clear favourite on paper, there is something to be said for the submission skills, unpredictability and rock hard chin of the Korean Zombie that will quite possibly ensure another contention for Fight of the Year honors.

Intimidation Clothing - Local MMAOf course, overcoming Jose Aldo will be no easy task with the man considered to be the true beast of the featherweight division and a man that for many spectators looks set to retain his title at least through to the end of the year. Indeed, there has never been any other holder of the featherweight title in the UFC; Aldo came over to the company following the 2010 merger with World Extreme Cage Fighting and in the absence of an existing UFC Featherweight Champion, he took on the mantle by default as WEC’s reigning champion. Since then, he has taken on and defeated some of the best featherweights that the UFC has to offer, not to mention picking up two Fight of the Night bonuses against the soon to retire Mark Hominick in a career highlight and Frankie Edgar, never losing since entering the UFC and successfully defending his featherweight title 4 times.

The Korean Zombie is also a fellow WEC alumnus and he too, holds an undefeated record since entering the Octagon. He also holds a victory over Hominick, picking up Knockout of the Night honours in the process although the definite highlight of his UFC run so far came in his last fight against Dustin Poirier. The match had already been confirmed as the title eliminator leading to August’s event and four rounds of action saw the Zombie finally prevailing with a d’arce choke. The match was one for the ages, not only seeing the Zombie picking up Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night but also Fight of the Year honours for 2012. Of particular interest is the fact that Bodog, unquestionably the region’s best sportsbook, has had the Zombie down as the favourite in each and every one of these fights and the fact that he has not disappointed at any stage shows just why he is deserving of this title shot. The serious nature and demeanor of the Korean Zombie also provides a good contrast with the more relaxed attitude and confident attitude of the #4 ranked top pound for pound fighter Aldo, who still finds time to hit the beach as shown in photos from his official Facebook page inspite of his grueling training sessions.

So now we come to UFC 163 on August 3rd. In spite of the Poirier matchup being billed as a title eliminator, Chan Sung Jung had to rely on an injury to Anthony Pettis to finally receive his deserved shot at the gold. Pettis’s uncanny knack for talking his way into title matches is starting to become reminiscent of Chael Sonnen, with even a somewhat absurd request to TJ Grant to drop out of his match for the Lightweight Title being rejected before another injury ensured the matchup was set anyway. Nevertheless, the Korean Zombie has his shot and it is time to see what Jose Aldo can do against arguably the most resilient fighter in any weight class. At Bodog88.com, sports betting fans are already carefully weighing the odds for the upcoming fight. Aldo has a decided advantage with the event taking place at the HSBC Arena in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro and you can ask just about any fighter what the backing of a rowdy Brazilian crowd entails. Then again, Chan Jung Sung does not seem to mind being away, as his three consecutive wins have come against two Americans in the US and a top Canadian fighter in Canada.

In fighting terms, the match looks to be an explosive one that could go either way. Aldo hasn’t won by submission since 2005 and while the Zombie would be more than happy to go for a submission, he seems to be more than content to stand and bang, absorbing superhuman punishment in the process although it still remains to be seen if he can take Aldo’s powerful striking and ground and pound if the fight goes to the ground. Fight fans should keep a watchful eye during fight night, as fight analysts and UFC pundits foresee this fight mot going the distance, ending either in a KO or a submission. For the record, our money is on Aldo who might just have a little too much even for the Korean Zombie. Come fight night, we’ll see if Jose ‘Scarface” Aldo can indeed put the Korean Zombie down on the ground and out for the count in UFC 163!

With the UFC commandeering the Saitama Super Arena, and Wanderlei Silva headlining the event at 205lbs, feelings of nostalgia begin to cross the minds of fight fans who remember Pride in its heyday.  Mark Hunt battles a comically tall heavyweight in what seems like a classic Pride sideshow bout (but has obvious heavyweight implications), Japanese stars take to the main card (Takanori Gom, Mizuto Hirota and Yushin Okami), and a whole host of other intriguing bouts to boot.

Is this fight card going to be Pride reincarnate?  Not really, no.  No stomps, soccer kicks, openweight bouts, or screaming announcer ladies will keep this from becoming the JMMA of old.  However, it is one of the more solid fight cards Japan has been offered in recent years, with an international flavor to spice things up.  Will Wanderlei Silva turn back the clock and finish Stann violently?  Will Lombard streak through Okami?  Will the Afghani fighter with a mysterious aura get past the South Korean judoka?  Let’s get to the predictions.

Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann

In this light-heavyweight bout, not too much is up for grabs divisionally.  Both men have fought at middleweight during the recent stretch of their UFC tenure, with Silva occasionally taking bouts at 190 to keep things interesting.  A loss for either though could cost them employment, so it’s fair to say something is riding on the bout.  Both men have knockout power, but I believe Stann’s chin is solid enough to withstand the manic haymakers that Silva will inevitably throw.  To be sure, Silva could catch Stann flat footed, but I like the power in the All American’s hands and crispness of his strikes to finish the Axe Murderer and put an end on his career.

Stann via 2nd Round KO.

Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve

In a battle of mismatched heavyweights, you’ve got the tallest in the division against one of the shortest in the division.  Hunt is on somewhat of a career resurgence here, having won his last 3 fights in a row, and he sits just outside of contendership.  If he beats the younger, taller fighter on a longer tear, he should have earned his position amongst the contenders at heavyweight.  However, I think it’ll be a rough night for the fan favorite from New Zealand.  Struve has not only gotten bigger, but his fight IQ has grown as well.  I expect this fight to last longer than Struve’s fight with knockout artist Lavar Johnson, but I expect the same result.

Struve via 1st Round Submission.

Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez

Gomi sits in a similar position to Hunt, in that his career is sort of on an upward trajectory at the moment.  His last fight against Mac Danzig showed a much crisper, and relaxed Gomi than we’ve seen in quite some time.  Against Diego Sanchez, he’ll face a pressure fighter.  While not necessarily the greatest wrestler in the world, Sanchez’s constant forward motion may give the former Pride champ a fit.  It’s not implausible for Gomi to secure a win, but I think Sanchez sticks to a game plan and grinds out the victory.

Diego Sanchez via Decision.

Yushin Okami vs. Hector Lombard

This one is a more difficult one to pick.  Yushin Okami is not Tim Boetsch.  When I say that, I won’t expect him to use striking from the outside to pick apart the stocky Cuban.  Okami’s game is more reliant upon his smothering top game and takedown ability.  While he definitely has the tools to put Lombard on the mat, I don’t see the Cuban putting up with it.  When Okami closes the distance, I expect Lombard will do what he more often than not has done: use his judo background to defend the takedown, put his fist to Okami’s chin, and end things early and violently.

Lombard via 1st Round KO.

Mizuto Hirota vs. Rani Yahya

In a battle of featherweights, Japanese regional champion takes on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Rani Yahya.  Mizuto Hirota takes the edge in striking, no comparison there.  Yahya is primarily a ground fighter and his stand up is severely rudimentary.  The question will be if Yahya can get the fight to the ground.  Early, I’d say so.  I believe Yahya will either get the takedown or pull guard.  If Hirota can weather the early submission attacks of Yahya, I think it’s his fight to lose.  Hirota is the more well-rounded fighter, and should cruise to a decision.

Hirota via Decision.

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Siyar Bahadurzada

This welterweight scrap has some divisional implications.  For Kim to win, it would see him shut down another prospect at welterweight, and put him on the right track back to the top.  For Bahadurzada, it will just be his second fight in the UFC, and if he can beat a UFC mainstay and ground wizard like Kim, it will certainly allow his prospect star to shine brighter.  Will the ground game of Kim be enough to keep the knockout ability of Bahadurzada to a minimum?  I think so.  Kim will get the takedown, hunt for chokes, and repeat his performance against Paulo Thiago.

Kim via Decision.

Prelims

Riki Fukuda defeats Brad Tavares via decision.

Takeya Mizugaki defeats Bryan Caraway via decision.

Kazuki Tokudome defeats Cristiano Marcello via KO.

Kyung Ho Kang defeats Alex Caceres via submission.

Marcelo Guimaraes defeats Hyun Gyu Lim via decision.

(PRESS RELEASE) – Singapore: ONE Fighting Championship™ (ONE FC) announced the launch of the Malaysian National Featherweight Championship Tournament. Four of the top Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) prospects in Malaysia will battle it out in the first round of the tournament at ONE FC: RETURN OF WARRIORS which takes place live on 2 February from the state-of-the-art Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The two fights signed for this historic tournament are Raymond “The Rocket” Tiew taking on Melvin “Overkill” Yeoh and AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor squaring off against Jian Kai “The Headhunter”Chee.  By the end of the evening, Malaysians will know who the top two contenders for the National Featherweight Championship title will be.

CEO of ONE Fighting Championship™ Victor Cui stated, “ONE FC is stacked with the largest roster of Asian champions and the Featherweight division is probably the most exciting division. It is time for us to crown National champions in Asia and Tiew, Yeoh, Mansor and Chee have proven that they are the most exciting prospects in Malaysia. We are giving these home-grown champions the chance to earn themselves the right to be called the Malaysian National Champion and rise to the top of the division as the number one contender.”

Raymond Tiew is a Sanshou Champion who has also represented Malaysia at Wushu. He is a stand up specialist with explosive striking which never disappoints the avid MMA fan. Tiew knows that this is his chance to show that he is the top Malaysian Featherweight but first he must get passed the brawler from Johor Bahru, Melvin Yeoh.

Melvin Yeoh has been called the top MMA prospect in Malaysia by international MMA media. A full-time school teacher, Yeoh has received much media attention both outside and inside the cage. He has always kept his gym doors open for kids on the streets looking to better themselves by learning the discipline associated with MMA and the valuable life skills that go along with the sport. This ferocious warrior will carry the weight of the community, gym and country come 2 February.

The second fight of the tournament will be between AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor and Jian Kai Chee. Mansor is the first thoroughbred Silat fighter to ever compete in MMA. His athletic ability earned him the National Silat Champion crown in the past and he will now turn his razor sharp striking toward his opponent, the Muay Thai champion Jian Kai Chee.

Chee has competed against some of the top MMA fighters in the region including Ole Laursen, Arnaud Lepont and Eddie Ng. Chee’s strength is his ability to finish a fight in an instant with punches, kicks, knees or elbows and will be looking to showcase his arsenal of skills at the Malaysian National Featherweight Championship tournament on 2 February in Stadium Putra, KL.

Cui further commented, “This tournament is part of ONE FC’s initiative to continually grow and support the local MMA community. ONE FC already has the very best Malaysian MMA fighters signed to us exclusively and this tournament, which is spread over two events, is a way for us to identify a true Malaysian National Champion.”

Tickets for ONE FC: RETURN OF WARRIORS, powered by Tune Talk are on sale now at www.AirAsiaRedTix.com. Tickets are priced at RM345 for the complete VIP experience that includes exclusive red carpet entrance, access to the VIP lounge and premium cage-side seating. The categories that follow are priced at RM145, RM95 and RM45 respectively. Booking fees and service charges apply.

Fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming at www.onefc.livesport.tv. The first two undercard fights are available for viewing free-of-charge and the main card fights will be available for purchase at just US$9.99.
For more updates on ONE Fighting Championship™, please visit www.onefc.com and follow on Twitter @ONEFCMMA and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ONEFCMMA.