UFC Fight Night 52: Hunt vs. Nelson Date: September 20, 2014 Location: Saitama, Japan Venue: Saitama Super Arena Broadcast: UFC Fight Pass UFC Heavyweight Mark Hunt (-140) The great Mark Hunt (9-8-1) may not have the most impressive record at first glance, but he has fought a murderer’s row of MMA hall of famers in his career. This K-1 Grand Prix winner had a great career in kickboxing, until he made the transition to Pride where he would pull of the biggest upset of 2004 with a win over Wanderlei Silva. He also defeated a prime Cro Cop in 2005. Hunt would then go on to lose six fights in a row to the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Gegard Mousasi, Josh Barnett, Alistair Overeem, Melvin Manhoef and Sean McCorkle, who submitted Hunt in his UFC debut. The UFC wanted to buy out Hunt’s Pride contract, thus paying him not to fight, but Hunt refused and went on an extremely-fun 4-fight winning streak, knocking out Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo as well as defeating Ben Rothwell and Chris Tuchsherer by vicious KO before he was placed in front of Junior dos Santos in a title elimination fight. Hunt would lose the Fight of the Night against JDS at UFC 160 in an absolute war, but he bounced back with a Fight of the Year contender against Bigfoot Silva at UFC Fight Night 33, a bout that would end up being a draw. Hunt broke his hand in the fight but after missing most of 2014 returns this fall to take on Roy Nelson in what should be an epic encounter at UFC Fight Night 52. UFC Heavyweight Roy Nelson (+100) Winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10, outspoken, big-bellied heavyweight Roy Nelson (20-9) may be undersized and seemingly out of shape, but he is a student of the MMA game and always exciting. His grappling credentials are never to be questioned – he is an instructor and Renzo Gracie black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, plus he has insanely heavy hands that have delivered five Knockout of the Night bonuses. He also has a chin made of granite. A formula for MMA popularity if there ever was one, UFC president Dana White realized the 38-year-old Las Vegas resident is ratings gold and cast him as a coach opposite fellow heavyweight contender Shane Carwin in TUF 16, a fight that never happened due to Carwin retiring from the sport because of a bad back. Nelson then lost to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier in back-to-back fights, but he bounced back with a brutal KO of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC Fight Night 39 and now the UFC has decided to match him up against Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 52 in a Fight of the Year contender. Opening UFC Fight Night 52 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Hunt a -140 favorite (bet $140 to win $100) while Hunt opened as a +100 underdog (bet $100 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. This could be the Fight of the Year in MMA. It’s a matchup pitting two of the hardest-hitting heavyweights to ever grace the UFC Octagon, but not only that, both men have proven they have some of the best chins ever in combat sports. Basically, expect a slugfest between these two top-ranked heavyweights, one that could potentially even go the full five rounds despite the power of both men. The fight could go either way which is why the line is tight, but either way, it should be an amazing fight and is one of the most anticipated bouts of the rest of 2014 for most hardcore fans.
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