UFC 160 scheduled for May 25th in Las Vegas, Nevada has been put back together. After the major disappointment of Alistair Overeem pulling out of his match with Junior Dos Santos due to a thigh injury, the UFC has locked in on Mark Hunt as a replacement. Hunt certainly has seen his stock rise since extending his UFC winning streak to four fights by KOing Stefan Struve on March 3rd. The UFC confirmed this assessment by moving him in to fight the former champion Dos Santos. A win for Hunt would almost certainly assure him a title shot against the winner of Antonio Silva versus Cain Velasquez, who fight for the title in the main event that same evening.
Much is made about Hunt’s six fight losing streak. People who are Hunt fans point out that Hunt was fighting the top fighters in the world during that streak and they would not be wrong, however fight is heading into fights against the top fighters in the world again, so it is a fair question to ask ‘has Hunt improved enough to be a contender’?
Hunt has improved. His cardio hass improved, and though he is still awkward on the ground, he learned enough defense to stay safe against Struve. His biggest weapons remain his hands, and he is fortunate enough to be facing a guy in Dos Santos who will want a stand up fight.
Dos Santos is going to be taller, and he is going to be faster than Hunt. Hunt is known for his incredible chin, but he has been out before (against Melvin Manhoef) and Dos Santos has a long list of KO victims. If the match extends itself standing, look for Do Santos to use movement and his speed advantage to get off first and win rounds.
When the books release the line, it will almost certainly have Dos Santos as a favorite. Dos Santos has already campaigned for a 3rd match with Velasquez, and a loss to Hunt would be a brutal blow to those aspirations. We are going to see a very highly motivated Dos Santos for this bout, and if Dos Santos is on his game, ther eis no reason for him to lose this match.