Sunday, November 15, 2015, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, watch on Main Event (prelims on Fox Sports)
THE whole world will be watching Ronda Rousey light up Melbourne this Sunday at Etihad Stadium, but Australians will also have an eye on a home-grown product.
The man with the motto “any one, any where, any time” comes face to face with the man who he fought to a bloody stalemate in perhaps the greatest UFC fight of all time as the UFC makes its Aussie debut in Melbourne.
Sydney sider Mark Hunt takes on Antonio “Big Foot” Silva in the middle of Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, the co main event to the women’s bantam weight title fight between Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm.
And, while many of the 70,000 strong crowd will be there to see Rousey in action, these two men are primed to provide the best battle of the night.
Both of these men tip the scales at better than 120 kilograms, Silva (19-7-0), at 193 centimetres enjoying a considerable height advantage over the 177 centimetre Hunt (10-9-1).
Both men are big dinosaurs of the sport, Hunt still one of its biggest draw cards at 41, and Silva a far more spritely 36.
Hunt hasn’t tasted success in the octagon since he smoked Roy Nelson over a year ago, having suffered losses in his interim heavy weight title fight with Fabricio Werdum in November last year and then falling to Stipe Miocic on May 9.
Silva has had just the three fights since his battle with Hunt in late 2013, having been swept aside in the first round by both Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski, before taking victory agains another Aussie in Soa Palelei in his most recent bout this August.
Winning form is good form, but that sort of stuff goes out the window when these two are fighting each other.
Hunt said he was looking for redemption after he was smoked by Miocic after struggling with his weight in a lopsided match many though should have been called well before the fifth round.
“The Miocic fight doesn’t sit well with me – it still doesn’t,” Hunt said.
“That’s why I’m here ready.”
“It’s sorted already.
“I’ve surrounded myself with good people. Not like the last camp. It was bad. I made a lot of mistakes. I’m not making them again, so thanks to Stipe for that.”
Hunt is the $1.37 favourite, but Ben Bulmer at sportsbet.com.au reports slightly more money has come in for Silva at the outsider odds of $3.09.
“A repeat of their 2013 draw is paying a juicy $51 with a number of keen punters taking Sportsbet up at those odds,” Bulmer said.
“There has been significant interest in the Hunt versus Silva match up which is shaping up as the event’s most exciting battle.”
Meanwhile, in the feature, Rousey is almost unbackable at $1.09 with sportsbet.com.au and the punters agree.
“Despite being the $9.30 outsider, money continues to roll in for Holly Holm to defeat Rousey ($1.06), with Sportsbet currently facing a more than $200,000 loss if Holm can inflict Rousey’s first ever defeat in the octagon,” Bulmer said.
“It’s (almost) time for fighters to take to the octagon for Melbourne’s first taste of UFC action.
Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva fight predictions
Fight winner: Mark Hunt ($1.38 with CrownBet.com.au)
Total fight rounds: Over 1.5 ($2.40 with CrownBet.com.au)
Smokey bet: Mark Hunt to win in round three ($10 with CrownBet.com.au)
It would be near on impossible to produce something as uniquely epic as the amazing draw these two fought out in Brisbane nearly two years ago. It will go down as one of the greatest fights in UFC history, both fighters beating each other to pulp, the battle resembling more a war than a sanctioned fight. Fast forward two years and a lot has changed.
Silva was famously stripped of his winners bonus for testing positive to testosterone after the 2013 fight with Hunt and has since had surgery to remove a pituitary gland tumour. Hunt has been in the ring, but hasn’t really reached the dizzying heights of that day, despite being one of the most popular fighters in the game. He has home ground advantage in this one, the adopted Aussie set to receive the most raucous welcome of the night (sorry Ronda). And we think that, coupled with the fact that this fight should be on a level playing field this time, should be enough to get the Super Samoan over the line.
These men are two of the hardest hitting humans on the planet. Neither is a great defender, so expect the blows to reign thick and fast. Hunt needs to win here to ensure he stays relevant at 41 years of age. Silva is no world beater in the division and we think Hunt, with his iron fist, can get the job done. Big Foot should make a fist of it, but we’re backing Hunt to land a monster on put him on the deck in the third round. Silva’s efforts against Mir and Arlovski were pedestrian at best and while he looked better against The Hulk, this is a different proposition.
Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm fight predictions
Fight winner: Ronda Rousey ($1.09 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Total fight rounds: One ($1.30 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Time of fight ending: Under 59 seconds ($3.25 with sportsbet.com.au)
We feel like this fight is going to be over very quickly, no matter who wins. Rousey has the all round game to destroy any female fighter in the UFC. We all know this. If she gets in close and gets her wrestling game going, it’s all over for Holm and it will be all over very quickly. But Holm possesses a striking game like no other woman Rousey has fought. And that’s her ace in the hole. She has to make it happen quickly, but if she can fire off – and land – something serious on Rousey, we could be in for an absolute boil over. Judging from the word out of our bookies, there are plenty of punters who think Holm can cause the upset of the century. While we wish Holm luck, we are not in the same boat. Rousey is an absolute monster and should end Holm early in the first round. The only woman on the planet we reckon can beat her is Cris “Cyborg” Justino. And that’s why the fight will probably never happen. For those who have been waiting to see Rousey fight in Australia, don’t blink too hard, you’ll miss it.
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