First off we will look at Mark Hunt, here is a guy that is a decorated K-1 kickboxer, a Pride FC veteran, and now a UFC fan favorite. When Hunt joined the UFC back in 2010 he held a record of 5 wins and 6 losses in MMA.
His debut was a heavyweight clash against Sean McCorkle, in a fight that many expected the Pride veteran to cruise through. As always with MMA anything can happen, and at UFC 119 Hunt was submitted in the first round by armbar.
Since then Mark Hunt has been on a streak, tearing through 265 lb. men like a machine. His next fight against Chris Tuchscherer ended with a devastating walk away knockout for Hunt. Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve followed suit in his next two fights at UFC 144 and UFC on Fuel: Silva vs Stann, respectively.
The ‘Super Samoan’ is experiencing his second wind as an MMA fighter after going on a six fight-losing skid between 2006 and 2010. ‘Cigano’ on the other hand is only just coming off his first loss in the UFC and second overall.
Since joining the UFC back in 2008 Junior dos Santos made a huge name for himself. He crushed Fabricio Werdum in a fight where JDS was considered a heavy underdog. Since then he has conquered Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop, Gilbert Yvel, Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson, Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir.
With his first round KO of Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs Dos Santos in 2011 ‘Cigano’ won the UFC heavyweight belt. Defending it once against Frank Mir in May of 2012 at UFC 146, before being absolutely dominated by a renewed Velasquez at UFC 155 in December of 2012.
So let's look at the two men’s styles head to head.
I feel Junior dos Santos gets the nod here. He holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu under Yuri Carlton and although we have only seen JDS submit one opponent during his MMA career it is well known that JDS is no slouch in the submission game.
His opponent however has lost 6 fights in his MMA career by submission. Hunt showed great submission defence in his latest scrap against Struve so I don’t doubt his improvement but JDS gets my vote on this one. 70-30 Dos Santos
Junior dos Santos is renowned for his excellent takedown defence. Although he came unstuck against Velasquez recently we won’t hold that against him, as Velasquez is a wrestling beast by all accounts. We are yet to see much of Dos Santos’ wrestling offensively.
Hunt has trained at American Top Team and that will have helped him with his wrestling and takedown defence although he has had trouble with wrestlers in the past. Again this is another aspect of his game that Hunt has worked on. I’m going to give Dos Santos a slight edge. 60-40 Dos Santos
Junior dos Santos holds an incredible record of 11 knockouts from 15 professional wins in MMA. He has heavy hands, quick feet and excellent speed for a heavyweight. His crisp boxing and movement is truly a testament to a top-level boxer and has aided him on his path to the heavyweight crown.
Mark Hunt holds 6 knockouts in 9 MMA wins and 13 knockouts from 30 wins in kickboxing. His K-1 level striking has seen him grab 2 knockout of the night awards in the UFC as well as 4 K-1 championship titles. I’m going to call it even 50-50
Hunt has only ever been knocked out once in MMA, against Melvin Manhoef in Dynamite!!2008. But anyone who can soak up a flush Cro Cop head kick and carry on has an iron chin in my books.
Junior dos Santos took a horrendous beating against Cain Velasquez in their second bout and kept coming. By the end of the fight his face was terribly swollen but he showed great heart and durability to continue. Again I’m going to call this one even 50-50
As for the result, I really want to see Mark Hunt get a title shot. I’ve been a huge Hunt fan since the Pride days and I would like nothing more than to see him conquer JDS en route to a title shot.
There is just this voice in the back of my head telling me ‘Cigano’ is just too fast and nimble on the feet for Hunt to deal with. Not only that I think Hunt’s cardio may let him down later in the fight. I really want Hunt to win so for the meantime I’m going to hope he works on his cardio and ignore that voice.