Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 3°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Uncaged: Mark hunts for Bigfoot in Australia

Brian Kirk previews the card at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane.

Hunt: beaten by dos Santos but now has a chance to get back to winning ways.
Hunt: beaten by dos Santos but now has a chance to get back to winning ways.
Image: Julie Jacobson/AP/Press Association Images

THE UFC RETURNS to Australia for the first time in a year with a heavyweight matchup
between Mark Hunt and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva the main event.

While the New Zealander Hunt will no doubt be the star turn, the Aussie fans have been gifted with
a card featuring other big hitters such as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua who faces James Te Huna and Ryan
Bader who takes on Anthony Perosh.

Win or lose, Pat Barry has been brought along to provide the fireworks in his bout against Australia’s
Soa Palelei who returns to the UFC while Dylan Andrews and Clint Hester complete the main card.

When heavyweights collide

It’s safe to say that Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva aren’t the most mobile fighters in the UFC but what they lack in movement and athleticism, they make up for with raw and explosive KO power.

Hunt was making an unlikely title tilt by knocking out the likes of Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo and Chris Tuchscherer before succumbing to the overpowering Junior dos Santos last time out.

Antonio Silva on the other hand surprised many by overcoming Alistair Overeem to earn his title shot before he was routinely dismantled by the current champ Cain Velasquez.

While it seems unlikely that either men will be challenging for honours any time soon, this promises to be a fight in which a KO will more than likely be on the cards.

Both men possess supremely heavy hands and have big targets to hit and while Hunt may have the edge in the stand-up, he may have to change his tactics of baiting an opponent into fighting as one shot from “Bigfoot” could spell the end for the “Super Samoan”.

If the fight goes into the later rounds Silva may have the bigger gas tank to see him through but everything points to this one not going the distance. We could be seeing another one of Hunt’s famous walkaway KOs again.


Can “Shogun” still cut it?

Long gone are the days of championship belts and victories over Lyoto Machida and Chuck Liddell for Mauricio Rua as all the battles with some of the light heavyweight division greatest fighters have taken their toll on the Brazilian.

Once the most feared man in his weight class, “Shogun” has crumbled to being tapped out by Chael Sonnen in his last bout and this fight against James Te Huna is as much about whether he can still compete at the top level at all than anything else.

Te Huna knows how it feels to be beaten by the top competitors in the UFC as his two organisational losses have come against Glover Teixeira and Alexander Gustafsson but a win here over Rua would show that he still has plenty to offer the division.

If “Shogun” can expose Te Huna’s grappling weaknesses without getting into a slugfest he may be able to salvage some pride and taste victory once more.

But if Te Huna begins to offload on the Brazilian it could spell trouble.

The New Zealander would do well to stick and move and try to take the fight into the later rounds and test Rua’s suspect gas tank and if he can avoid “Shogun’s” submission game, maybe he could retire the former UFC champ.

Best of the rest

Ryan Bader was on the verge of a massive upset in his last fight when he dropped Glover Texeira in the first round only to be KOd himself. So often the light heavyweight division’s nearly man, Bader must reset himself once more with Anthony Perosh his latest opponent.

You get the feeling that if this event was taking place anywhere else in the world Perosh wouldn’t necessarily be involved, but he will take the opportunity to fight in his home country with both hands although the outcome might not be satisfactory for everyone in attendance. Bader should be too strong for the 41-year-old here.

Entertainment follows Pat Barry wherever he goes so his matchup against Soa Palelei should be no different. Barry seems to win one, lose one, so after getting KOd by Shawn Jordan last time out he is due a victory.

Palelei lost on his UFC debut 6 years ago but 9 KO wins a row has convinced Dana White to give him another shot and with Barry’s glass chin he has every chance of making it 10. Barry is a step up in class to those opponents and it would be dangerous to underestimate his striking ability. This one is a coin flip.

YouTube credit: tecatito123456789

Dylan Andrews has improved greatly since losing to Uriah Hall in semi-finals of season 17 of TUF, recording victories over Jimmy Quinlan and Papy Abedi. Clint Hester appeared in the same season but failed to live up to expectations. The more well-rounded Andrews could well take this one.

American Football star Jamaal Charles catches his own pass (or does he?)

About the author:

Brian Kirk

Read next: