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