UFC will make its first visit to South Australia next month for Fight Night 65, and according to the UFC odds as we go to press, Stipe Miocic is a –190 favorite to beat Mark Hunt in the main event.
Nestled quietly in between last week’s UFC 186 pay-per-view and next month’s big Fight Night 66 battle between Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber, we’ve got an intriguing bout coming up between two top contenders in the Heavyweight division. Stipe Miocic and Mark Hunt will touch gloves on May 10 in the main event of Fight Night 65, coming to you from the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia.
This should be a very interesting fight in what has become a pretty quiet Heavyweight division. Hunt (10-9-1 lifetime) is the world’s No. 5-ranked heavyweight at Sherdog, but the UFC odds at press time say he’s a +150 underdog to the No. 6-ranked Miocic (12-2-1 lifetime). Why the disparity between the rankings and the odds? Is there some hidden value here with Hunt?
Made in Japan
Quite possibly. The big Samoan may have turned 41 last month, and his UFC record might not be pristine, but Hunt is no tomato can. He was a champion at K-1 before making the move to PRIDE, where he earned victories over Wanderlei Silva and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and even made a good accounting of himself in a Heavyweight title loss to Fedor Emelianenko.
It’s been a while since those salad days. However, Hunt has a record of 5-3-1 in the UFC, and he’s one of the most dangerous strikers in the business. Roy Nelson (–140) found that out personally last year at UFC Fight Night 52, when Hunt put him down in the second round to earn Knockout Of The Year honors. Most recently, Hunt agreed to fight Fabricio Werdum (–345) on short notice for the interim Heavyweight strap, and sent Werdum to the canvas twice before losing via second-round TKO.
To Battle, Vikings All
Miocic is no slouch when it comes to striking. He was a Golden Gloves champion as well as a Division I wrestler (and a talented baseball player) at Cleveland State University; Miocic won by knockout in each of his first five career fights with Ohio-based North American Allied Fight Series. Then he won their Heavyweight title in 2011 before making his UFC debut that same year.
It’s been more of the same ever since. Miocic is 6-2 in the Octagon, winning three times by knockout and three by unanimous decision. Even his two losses, to Stefan Struve (+155) in 2012 and Junior Dos Santos (–400) last December, were good enough to earn Fight of the Night honors. Miocic made Dos Santos eat a series of right hands and left him bloodied, but faded in the later rounds after absorbing a number of body shots.
What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?
Overall, this should be Miocic’s fight to win. He’s still in his prime and on the ascendancy at age 32, and the close loss to Dos Santos should only help his career. From a stats perspective, according to FightMetric, Miocic lands 4.78 strikes per minute to Hunt’s 3.46, and his striking defense is superior at 63 percent to Hunt’s 56 percent.
Things will get more interesting, though, if this fight makes it to the ground. Despite his wrestling experience, Miocic only has a 26-percent success rate on his takedowns, and he has yet to attempt a submission in the Octagon. Hunt doesn’t attempt as many takedowns as Miocic (0.80 per 15 minutes to 1.70), but he lands 56 percent of them, and Hunt will occasionally slip in a submission attempt.
If Miocic were a more proven commodity on the ground, we’d be happy to eat some chalk with our UFC pick for this fight. But since he doesn’t target Hunt’s primary weakness via submissions, and since Miocic is more of a point striker than a power puncher, we think Hunt will have an opportunity to knock out the favorite and deliver some betting value in the process.
Free UFC Pick: Take Hunt by KO/TKO at 5Dimes