The UFC has officially announced its main event for Fight Night 51 in Japan and it shapes up as a sensational heavyweight slugfest between two top-10 contenders. The long overdue matchup between Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt is finally a reality. The two knockout artists will clash in a five-round affair at the Saitama Super Arena on September 21.
Nelson rebounded from a pair of losses against Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier with a brutal knockout of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at Fight Night 39 in Abu Dhabi. It was vintage “Big Country” as he left the veteran Brazilian crumpled on the canvas after landing a walk off right hand to end the fight in the first round. It earned him a Performance of the Night bonus. All of Nelson’s seven UFC victories have come by knockout. The TUF Season 10 winner has incredible one-punch KO ability but his heavy hands will get a test in the form of Hunt’s granite chin.
It’s almost a homecoming of sorts for the ”Super Samoan.” The New Zealander Hunt has fought numerous times in Japan during his K-1 kickboxing and MMA careers. He’s enjoyed success in his two previous UFC appearances in Japan producing knockout victories over Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve.
Hunt’s last Octagon appearance was a memorable five-round war with Antonio Silva at Fight Night 33 in Australia. Both competitors gave all they had in a bloody, back-and-forth encounter that was one of the best fights of 2013. In the end, the contest was declared a draw. Three of his four UFC victories have come by knockout.
This truly has the makings of being a remarkable fight. While Hunt will be hard-pressed to duplicate the type of memorable encounter that he delivered against “Bigfoot,” Nelson has the style that should lead to another violent encounter. Both men suffered broken hands in their last Octagon appearances.
The two fighters have combined for 10 post-fight bonuses between them and possess immense power and iron chins. It’s truly one of the most crowd-pleasing clashes that the UFC can make in any division.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports