Brock Lesnar’s returning at UFC 200 against Mark Hunt. That’s happening. What are your thoughts both on his return and on the matchup itself?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
OK, so of course I’m completely amazed that this happened. On a recent episode of the MMA Torch Podcast where I called for Brock’s return as being the only thing that could salvage the buyrate for UFC 200, I never in a million years thought it would happen. It’s just beautiful that it did, though.
As to the matchup? I love it. It’s amazing. The UFC doesn’t have to worry about protecting Lesnar, not that they EVER protected him. He’s fought Frank Mir, Heath Herring, Randy Couture, Mir (again), Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez, and Alistair Overeem as a UFC fighter. And now Markoh Huntoh. That’s as close to literally as much of a murderer’s row of fighters as you’ll ever see. The UFC can give him this fight as opposed to, say, Jake Rosholt because as far as Zuffa is concerned, who cares what happens to Brock after this fight? He’s fighting once, he’s going to sell 500,000 pay-per-views on top of whatever UFC 200 was going to sell just on his name alone. This a stroke of genius and good fortune for Zuffa.
Oh, and Mark Hunt is in the co-main event of UFC 200. Had you told that to me five years ago, I would have laughed at you. Hell, had you told that to me even one year ago, fresh off of losses to Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic, dropping his career record to an even .500, I would have still laughed in your face. But here we are now, and it’s beautiful.
Of course, future cards in Chicago, Atlanta, and Cleveland are going to suck hot butt, but that’s another story…
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
It’s an interesting development for sure. It shows that the UFC feels as though they needed an extra pop for such a big card. I think it’s pretty cool. As for him fighting Mark Hunt…I don’t feel so good about that for Lesnar. Hunt is one of the heaviest hitters in the division so he could easily turn the lights out. I don’t know what Lesnar is going to look like since he’s been out of the cage for so long, but he’s going to have to fight smartly here. He’s got to try to wear Hunt down to avoid his power, then try to capitalize and finish him. I’ll definitely be anticipating this fight and I can’t wait to see it.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
This is kind of a bad matchup both ways. Hunt sucks on the ground and Brock sucks on the feet. If Brock gets Hunt down it’s over. If Hunt hits Brock solid it’s over. It’s basically a freak show fight to get over Lesnar and solidify his WWE credibility as a legit MMA star. Brock’s gonna win and make a boat load of money and sell a ton of pay-per-views.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
This was one of the greatest surprise moves they could have pulled off for UFC 200. The card frankly needed something out of left field to make it stand out, because while the lineup is extremely strong for a pay-per-view event it still didn’t quite feel like the monumental event they want it to be. Add a megastar like Lesnar returning after four and a half years out of the cage and it’s just that much better.
The fight itself is shocking in both in how legitimate it is and how dangerous a matchup it is for Lesnar after all that time out of the cage. He’s got a path to victory here, and though Hunt’s been extremely dangerous Lesnar has the grappling chops to have this be his fight. He can’t play with fire and try trading strikes with Hunt no matter how improved he may feel on that end, but if he can avoid a kill shot from Hunt he’s going to make this a very competitive fight.
[Brock Lesnar art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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