UFC Fight Night 52 Date: September 20, 2014 Arena: Saitama Super Arena City: Saitama, Japan Heavyweight bout: Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt (-115) vs Roy “Big Country” Nelson (+105) Fight Breakdown: The main event for UFC Fight Night 52 in Japan will be a five round heavyweight contest between a pair of heavy hitters in Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt and Roy “Big Country” Nelson. The betting odds for this scrap are at a near coin flip, with Hunt being a very slim favorite at -115 ($115 to win $100) and the return on the very small underdog Nelson being +105 ($100 to win $105) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Roy “Big Country” Nelson (20-9 MMA, 7-5 UFC) last saw action five months ago at UFC Fight Night 39 in Abu Dhabi, where he scored an impressive one-punch knockout of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the very first round of action. Snapping a two-fight skid with the highlight reel finish, “Big Country” returned to the win column and will be looking to make it two in a row against Hunt, believing that with an impressive victory, he will be next in line for a shot at the winner of Werdum vs Velasquez. The 38-year old is known for his hard right hand, which is a vicious weapon that has put out the likes of Matt Mitrione, Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, Mirko Cro Cop, Dave Herman and the aforementioned Nogueira. Nelson and his right hand are always a threat against anyone in the UFC’s heavyweight division. The Ultimate Fighter season 10 winner is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and owns five wins by way of tapout, though he has not submitted an opponent since 2006. Nelson’s cardio seems to be hit or miss, but he is generally able to tough it out for 15 minutes, even if he is gassed. However, in a 25 minute fight, that becomes a lot more questionable, though I personally think he will be able to pull through, considering his heart is as big as his gut. Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt (9-8-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC) is coming off an incredible, five-round war against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC Fight Night 33 over nine months ago, in what in my personal opinion was the greatest heavyweight fight in UFC history. It was a very close fight that ended up resulting in a Draw, and no one could argue that outcome. Hunt is a Samoan kickboxer who was born in New Zealand and currently resides in Australia, which he proudly calls home. He is a very talented and powerful striker who throws heavy hands and kicks; as Joe Rogan puts it, “he has tree trunks for legs!” His cardio is solid for a heavyweight, so I don’t see him gassing, especially early on in the fight, even considering the fact that he had to drop a massive amount of weight for this fight, all the way up to weigh-ins. Hunt’s weakness would still be his ground game, as six of his eight losses have come by way of submission. His takedown defense has improved and is solid, but his submission defense, while also improved, remains a concern, and will be one in this bout against Nelson, as “Big Country” is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who is well-versed in the submission game. Hunt, like in any of his bouts, will be preferring to keep things on the feet. Being a PRIDE veteran and having previously competed in Japan numerous times, at the Saitama Super Arena, no less, “The Super Samoan” will have the Japanese crowd on his side heading into this 25-minute heavyweight tilt. Gabe’s Thoughts: If this fight stays on the feet from start to finish, it is anybody’s guess how it will play out. I am personally expecting Nelson to employ his grappling in this bout, ultimately taking Hunt down and submitting him. It could go either way on the feet, but “Big Country” has a big edge on the mat, so I think he will look to take the fight there, where he will either submit Hunt or control him there to win rounds, all depending on the state of Hunt’s submission defense. I like Nelson to win by either Submission (most likely an arm triangle choke, or an americana) or Unanimous Decision in this five round heavyweight main event. Gabe’s Call: “Big Country” by Submission (arm triangle choke, 4:36 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Roy Nelson (+105) 3u to win 3.15u
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