Two years ago this week, we published what is an especially fascinating Roundtable Topic: “Who wins the Mark Hunt vs. Stipe Miocic fight, and how? Do you expect either of them to get back into the UFC Heavyweight Title picture? Why or why not?”
This weekend, Stipe defends his UFC Hvt. Title in the main event of UFC 211, but two years ago, we were wondering if he had what it took to move to the top of the division. Find out what the staff had to say and how their predictions turned out…
Who wins the Mark Hunt vs. Stipe Miocic fight, and how? Do you expect either of them to get back into the UFC Heavyweight Title picture? Why or why not?
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
This is very hard to call. If Miocic can avoid getting into the type of firefight that he got into with Junior dos Santos, he should comfortably take this one, as he is a solid boxer and could potentially pick apart the stocky Hunt ala Roy Nelson at UFC 161. But no one has more power than Hunt. Throwing in the fact that Hunt has proven that he can go five rounds makes this even harder to figure. I’ll say Miocic by decision, but I’m saying that with zero confidence.
Part of the reason I say Miocic is I admit I want him to win. Not because I like him better, but it would be much healthier for the evolution of the division. Hunt already received a title shot, and despite a spirited effort he came up short. If Miocic wins, he could very well get the next title shot if Cain Velazquez retains his title. Sure, Miocic lost to dos Santos… but who wants to see Velazquez-dos Santos IV? Then again, Travis Browne could leapfrog him too. There are still a lot of variables that have to play out before making any title ramifications in stone, but it very well could.
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Don’t know who, but I do know how. The how is going to be a really f***ing hard punch to the face. And Big Ol Puncher Jones is going to find himself behind the winner of Travis Browne/Andrei Arlovski, and maybe even behind Matt Mitrione/Ben Rothwell as well. This is about as meaningless of a fight between two top-five contenders as you’re likely to find.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Miocic certainly will. He was moving up in the division until he fought Junior dos Santos. There’s no shame in losing to JDS, who beats everyone except Cain Velasquez. The same goes for Hunt. Obviously Hunt is much older than Miocic but the heavyweight division is so shallow that I think both guys can contend for the title soon. Even the loser of this fight isn’t out of it.
As for the fight, there’s no way I can pick against Hunt in Australia. I know he’s from New Zealand, but it’s close enough that I don’t think that will matter much. My mind tells me to pick Miocic, but my gut says that Hunt wins by TKO. I think the energy of the crowd will be such that he turns back the clock and summons up the magic again to knock out Miocic sometime in the second round in a very exciting fight.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think we are more likely to see Miocic emerge as the winner from this fight. He’s superior in size as well as cardio, length, and speed. Hunt has … power and chin. I bet on volume over ability to eat punches. A punching bag is never going to beat up the man punching it, but Hunt is a punching bag with arms so it poses a scary task for Miocic. I don’t think Miocic’s length will give Hunt the opportunity to get inside and land a murderous shot, but stranger things have certainly happened. I think we see Miocic win this fight and get back into the title picture by the end of the year, he’s a young guy still, and he has a lot of time to grow more accustomed to using technique over power and movement over slower opponents. Miocic TKO round two.
TOM STRONG, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR
Stipe Miocic is an intelligent fighter and likes to fight smart, though he can let himself get into a tear up like we saw in a grueling battle with JDS. He will have to carefully pick and choose his moments whilst looking for opportunities to take advantage of Hunt, though if he decides to stand and trade strikes with the very heavy hitter he may well come undone, and see any chance of getting into the title picture go up in smoke.
Hunt’s granite chin and one punch knockout power always makes him very dangerous no matter who you put him in with, but there’s only so long you can rely on these tools before it catches up with you. Hunt’s striking will be his advantage whilst the fight is standing, but I’m not sure he will have many chances to get in close to land those huge punches. If Stipe Miocic gets sloppy or decides to get involved in a firefight Hunt will be the man standing with his hand raised.
Hunt’s fairytale story is coming to an end while Miocic gets the victory and takes a step closer to title contention.
Prediction: Stipe Miocic TKO RD. 3
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK COLUMNIST
Stipe Miocic was very unlucky in his loss to Junior dos Santos late last year, and he’s improved a great deal since Stefan Struve easily beat him in London. Mark Hunt on the other hand is great at two things: he’s got knockout power and he can take a lot of damage. If Miocic fights clever and keeps Hunt at range, this fight is his for the taking. Hunt has proved he can last five rounds, but the longer it goes on, the easier it will get for Miocic to pick his moments and avoid a hard right. Hunt has a chance if he can end it early, but my pick is a Miocic win by a comfortable unanimous decision.