Our co headliner of UFC 221 in Perth, sees hometown hero Mark ‘Super Samoan’ Hunt face off against rising Heavyweight brawler Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes. Despite recent concern for the health of the veteran Hunt, he’s been cleared for competition, but faces a stern battle against Illinois born Blaydes. Lastly stopping the dangerous Derrick Lewis via a barrage, Hunt ended a one fight slide after a brutal Thai clinch knee from Kickboxing expert Alistair Overeem stiffened the 43 year-old. NCAA wrestler Blaydes holds 7 knockout displays, most recently Oleksiy Oliynyk due to a doctor stoppage at UFC 217.
One of the most decorated and memorable mixed martial artists on the planet, Mark Hunt has built a reputable legacy as one of, if not the hardest hitter at Heavyweight, with several ‘walk off’ KO’s under his belt. Despite never holding UFC gold, the Kiwi is the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix champion and holds unforgettable finishes over Stefan Struve, now Bellator bruiser Roy Nelson and Chris Tuchscherer. With 5 unwanted, brutal knockout defeats on his résumé, Hunt was recently pulled from a scheduled meeting with Marcin Tybura due to concern over his well-being and was later replaced by former Interim title opponent Fabrício ‘Vai Cavalo’ Werdum. After a visit to a medical center in Las Vegas coordinated by the promotion, Hunt was deemed fit to compete in December of last year.
With a sole career loss to the frightening Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes rebounded in spectacular style to show an 8-1-1 professional record. After a hugely controversial and debated ‘No Contest’ against Adam Milstead for the presence of Marijuana metabolites in a post fight drug test, Blaydes was matched up against Daniel Omielánczuk and then the aforementioned Ezekiel choke master Oliynyk, where he dominated both men.
Wrestling may play a huge factor in this match up, with Blaydes’ Juco wrestling background something he should look to use often and early, and especially to prevent that shovel of a right hook from Hunt landing. Interesting match up for the division in terms of the future.
Curtis Blaydes via unanimous decision.