UFC Fight Night, Saturday, June 10, 10pm ETPT, Auckland, NZ
UFC returns to Auckland, New Zealand, as Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt takes on Derrick Lewis in the heavyweight division.
Hunt will look to adore his home fans in Auckland, but fans will be hoping he lets his fists do the talking instead of his mouth.
He seems unable to put the Overeem saga behind him and his 12-11-1 record hardly speaks for itself. There’s no doubting Hunt has knockout power, but we’ve seen many hometown fighters get beaten when the UFC goes on tour and Hunt might join the list.
He comes up against Derrick Lewis who has an imposing 18-4 record and a knockout percentage of 89.
Lewis is coming off a Fight of the Night win against Travis Browne where he scored a knockout in round two and his performance against Roy Nelson last year was a one-sided striking exhibition.
Lewis scored 37 hits to Nelson and only copped four in return. If that’s going to be the mark this Saturday night then Mark Hunt will have his hands full.
Hunt had a Performance of the Night against Frank Mir in 2016 when he scored by knockout in the opening round, but his time in the UFC has been turbulent since.
There was his no contest fight against Brock Lesnar for drug cheating and his loss against Alistair Overeem has been clouded in drug controversy as well.
Hunt hasn’t been able to move on mentally and we hope he doesn’t start firing off excuses should he lose on Saturday.
We think Mark Hunt’s best days are behind him and Lewis is the man on the rise. Hunt is the underdog at +210, despite fighting at home and that tells bettors all they need to know.
Brunson vs. Kelly fight pick
Derek Brunson takes on Australian hopeful Daniel Kelly in the undercard and this fight should be a one-sided affair.
Brunson has too much class for Kelly, who hasn’t been fighting top ranked fighters and Brunson will enjoy not having to take on the likes of Anderson Silva this time around after losing a unanimous decision to the Brazilian in February.
With career wins against The Ultimate Fighter winner Uriah Hall and Roan Carneiro, Brunson should have too much knockout power against Kelly who hasn’t won via knockout at his last two fights.
Hooker vs. Pearson fight tip
It’s New Zealand vs. Australia in this fight as the experience Ross Pearson does battle with Dan “The Hangman” Hooker.
Bookmakers are siding with the up-and-coming star Hooker, but we’re picking an upset in this matchup.
Pearson has been around the blocks enough to know what Hooker will bring and with some high profile wins under his belt, Pearson won’t have seen anything new from the Kiwi.
Three straight losses is the season why Pearson isn’t favored, but they all went the distance and we believe he can recapture the form which saw him winning on a regular basis in the UFC.
The value is there at +250 and he could create a major upset at UFC Fight Night Auckland.
Cutelaba vs. da Silva
This isn’t quite the star match up of the night, but it pits two fighters with good records against each other and it should be a good knockout-styled fight.
Cutelaba is a winner of 12 from 16 and he has knocked his opponents out 75 percent of the time. He comes up against da Silva who has a knockout percentage of 92.
That all shapes up for an exciting contest where Cutelaba is the raging hot favorite to beat the Brazilian.
He looks the more well-rounded and fit fighter so we’d stick with the favorite despite the short price of -294, but UFC bettors should parlay him into other fights on the card for the best value.