Every fan had the same reaction as Brock Lesnar's voice echoed across the arena at the end of the UFC 200 promo: "CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?!"
People sat there simply shocked, confused, and, most of all, excited. Joe Rogan's (who was in the dark about the surprise) reaction was real and summed it up best, as all he could muster up was: "what does that mean?" and "is this real?!" It wasn't the most articulate reaction to promote Lesnar's return, but it conveyed the raw sentiments of everyone in the arena and everybody watching on PPV.
Now that it's had some time to sink in, MMA fans are fired up for the return of The Beast. Part of the excitement has to do with his opponent, Mark Hunt. Many MMA pundits figured Lesnar was coming back for a "squash match," where he'd overwhelm a helpless opponent and then proceed to make his way back to WWE for SummerSlam, which is far from the case. Mark Hunt is currently the eighth ranked UFC Heavyweight and a formidable foe. One thing that Lesnar's detractors have always said is that: "Brock doesn't like to get hit."
That is a very vague and simplistic statement. What they mean is that when Lesnar gets tagged hard, he tends to go into a retreat mode and/or turtle up, rather than bite down on his mouth piece and respond with a strike of his own. This could be a problem as Hunt is one of the heaviest hitters in the world. But Lesnar has way more ways to win this fight.
Let's dive right into it! Here are the top 15 reasons why Brock Lesnar will destroy Mark Hunt.
15 Gas Tank
We've all heard it before, that big muscles require a lot of oxygen, which results in fighters that are "jacked" getting tired quickly. Well, there is not a fighter on the planet that is more jacked than Brock Lesnar. However, while this notion may be true to a degree, Lesnar has found a way to slap the theory in the face. Let's take a gander at some of his past performances.
He managed to go the distance with Heath Herring in his second UFC fight. He did not slow down at all and ended Herring's career in the process with a savage beating. In his fight with Shane Carwin, Lesnar took an immense amount of punishment (seriously, that's as close to a 10-7 round as we'll see), yet it was Carwin who got tired in the second round and ended up losing. Mark Hunt also isn't exactly the Energizer Bunny himself, so the advantage goes to Lesnar here.
14 Hunt's Takedown Defence
Mark Hunt can fend off takedown attempts in the early going, but once the fight turns into a grind, he cannot sustain his takedown defence. This notion was on full display in his fight against Stipe Miocic back in May of 2015. It was competitive in the early going,but as the action wore on, Miocic was easily able to take Hunt to the ground, with less and less resistance each time. Granted, Miocic is currently the Heavyweight Champion, but his wrestling doesn't hold a candle to the wrestling of Lesnar. If Miocic was able to take Hunt down with ease, what will The Beast Incarnate be able to do?
Let's not get it twisted, Brock Lesnar is no spring chicken at 38 years of age. But Mark Hunt is four years older and has a lot of mileage on his body, as he has been involved in some epic wars. One could argue that it's only a four year differential and that it won't have an impact. But 40 seems to be a magic number in sports where an inevitable decline in performance begins to manifest. Sure, there are genetic freaks like Dan Henderson or Bernard Hopkins (boxing), but those are the exceptions, not the rule. Now, we're not saying that Hunt will look like Ken Shamrock out there, but it'll likely be impossible for him to maintain his current pace in his 40s and we're betting that his drop-off will begin with this fight.
Brock Lesnar's reach is one of his advantages that is not talked about enough. While he stands at six foot three, which is pretty standard for a Heavyweight, he has a freakish 81 inch (206 cm) reach. In his title fight with Randy Couture, he managed to drop "Captain America" with a punch, and then pounced on him and dished out a barrage of punches until the referee pulled him off. In an interview after the fight, Couture admitted that Lesnar's reach threw him off course and that he really didn't know how to respond. Frank Mir also confessed that Lesnar's reach is very tricky leading up to their second fight at UFC 100. If Frank Mir is going to compliment Lesnar for anything, it's a pretty good sign that it's a legitimate advantage.
11 Mark Hunt's Ground Game
It's very likely that any of Brock Lesnar's opponents will end up on their back at some point in the fight. Actually, every single one of his opponents with the exception of Alistair Overeem did end up on their back (yes, even Cain Velasquez). One way to neutralize his wild ground and pound is by executing world class Jiu Jitsu. Lesnar was slaughtering Frank Mir in their first fight, but got too reckless and ended up getting caught in a knee bar, ultimately losing the fight. Unfortunately for Mark Hunt, he has no submission skills to speak of. He has a 12-10 MMA record, with nine victories coming by knockout or technical knockout and three coming by decisions. He's never once submitted another opponent, as it's not really a part of his game.
10 Lesnar is Exceptional in the Mounted Position
There's no question that Lesnar is far better on the ground and a lot of these entries will discuss that, along with why those skills with help Lesnar defeat Mark Hunt. Here, we'll take a look at Lesnar's top game.
If Lesnar gets on top, due to his size and speed, which we'll discuss a little more in the coming entries, it'll be very difficult for Mark Hunt to defend himself and get himself back to the standing position, which is where he wants to be in this fight. Lesnar wore down Mir in their second fight and transitioned into the side mount, where his size and speed proved to be too much and he won the fight by TKO. If gets into similar positions, expect more of the same.
9 Big Fight Experience
You might be wondering how exactly Brock Lesnar has an experience advantage over Mark Hunt when he's only fought seven times under the UFC banner. Hunt has certainly fought more times than Lesnar and technically has an experience advantage. But it's completely different when the bright lights are shining and you're competing on a big stage, with millions of fans tuning in to see your very next move. Of Lesnar's seven UFC fights, five of them have been main events. Even more impressive is the fact that four out of the seven have been World Title fights, including the rematch with Frank Mir at UFC 100, which grossed more viewership than any other pay per view. Hunt has been a tremendous fighter for the UFC, but has never faced the pressure that Brock Lesnar has.
8 The Arm Triangle
Ground and pound isn't the only way Brock Lesnar can win the fight once he's on top. He proved against Shane Carwin that he can sneak a submission in there as well. Once Lesnar got the takedown on Carwin, rather than dish out some savage ground and pound, he saw the opening for the arm triangle and slapped it on until Carwin tapped out. There was a rumour that Lesnar had been drilling that move at Death Clutch (his gym) with Randy Couture. It could certainly come in handy against Mark Hunt, considering his questionable ground game. Earlier, we mentioned that Mark Hunt has a questionable ground game and his fight stats help prove that. Of his 10 MMA losses, six have been by submission. If Lesnar finds an opening, Hunt may be forced to tap out.
Every single time Brock Lesnar fights, Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg bring up the fact that he: "moves like a lightweight," It's absolutely incredible that a heavyweight that actually needs to cut weight to make the 265 pound limit can move that nimbly. Lesnar would have a speed advantage against other heavyweights that are actually considered "fast." Mark Hunt is not considered a quick-moving fighter by any means and the disparity is going to be quite apparent.
While Hunt likes to slug it out, Lesnar is quick and smooth enough to avoid a lot of those heavy blows. If Lesnar remains patient, there's no reason he can't avoid the knockout and take the fight to the ground with his speed game.
This one is a no brainer as Brock Lesnar is gigantic, even for a heavyweight. As mentioned above, he needs to cut weight to make the 265 cut off. Along with his freakish reach, he also stands six foot three and has already demonstrated a variety of disturbing feats of strength in the cage. His opponent is surely going for a ride once he gets "underhooks" or is deep on a double/single leg takedown. How exactly is he so proficient at these freestyle wrestling techniques?
While Hunt is not tiny by any stretch, he only stands five foot ten and is listed comfortably at 262 pounds. Hunt has shown the proficiency to defeat larger men in the past, he recently beat Bigfoot Silva who is nicknamed Bigfoot for a reason, but Lesnar's might be too much for him.
5 Combination of Speed and Size
Look, this might seem like a bit of a cop out, but it's rare to find a competitor who moves like a lightweight, but who also has the size and reach of a heavyweight. When you combine both factors together, it's becomes easier to see how The Beast took the UFC by storm when he first emerged on the scene against Frank Mir in 2008. A fully healthy Brock Lesnar, a fact we will discuss a little more later, will be able to use all of his size and speed to his advantage, meaning that The Super Samoan will have his hands full on July 9th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
4 (Actual) Wrestling Pedigree
Brock Lesnar compiled an insane 106-5 record as a collegiate freestyle wrestler and was the NCAA Division 1 Champion in 2000. He was well on his way to the Olympics before Vince McMahon presented him with an opportunity to become a WWE talent...ah, who are we kidding? McMahon presented him with a big fat check. Nevertheless, he was lured over to the world of professional wrestling when he was one of the best freestyle wrestlers in the world. Once he began his UFC career, it was abundantly clear that Lesnar still had his amateur wrestling skills in his arsenal as he'd take people to the ground at will.
Many will argue that Lesnar hasn't trained in this domain in years. We'll counter with this idea. Firstly, he obviously still had his amateur wrestling instincts the last time he participated in the UFC. Secondly, how can we plausibly know what Lesnar does in his training sessions?
3 No USADA Testing For Lesnar
Over the past year, we've seen mind blowing transformations in regards to the physique of fighters. There has been a huge stream of fighters that have been caught using performance enhancing drugs since the implementation of random drug testing (USADA). Basically, the athletic commissions were absolutely useless when it came to testing fighters for PEDs, so the UFC brought in USADA on their own buck.
If a retired fighter wishes to return to competition, the protocol is that he/she must give USADA a four month "heads up" before their actual match takes place. The four month buffer is so that they can make sure that the fighter is clean prior to the contest...that's all fine and well, but UFC 200 is in less than a month.
Somehow, some way, the UFC has allowed Lesnar to bypass this whole process. In the words of former UFC Heavyweight Brendan Schaub: "Does no one think this is fishy?! Hey man, you can't do that!" - Evidently, he can.
2 Sticking To The Game Plan
In Brock Lesnar's first interview after the news was revealed that he would indeed be fighting at UFC 200, he made no delusions about his game plan. He maintained that this was a style vs. style fight, how the UFC originated; with obviously Lesnar being the grappler and Hunt being the striker.
In his last fight against Alistair Overeem, we saw quite possibly the second dumbest game plan of all time, as Ronda Rousey's against Holly Holm takes the cake. Lesnar basically decided to kickbox with a K1 champion and only shot for one weak takedown in the entire fight. He even employed a strange variation of a Dominick Cruz like shuffle at one point. Needless to say, it did not end well for him. Lesnar knows that he has to stick to his bread and butter in this one in order to get his hand raised.
Brock Lesnar revealed in a sit down interview with Paul Heyman that he was never at peace with the way his UFC career ended. The main reason was because he went out on two losses and did not feel like his opponents beat him, as he felt that he lost to diverticulitis instead. He felt as though he never got to perform to his full capabilities because he was in constant discomfort.
As we speak, Lesnar claims that he is 100% healthy and that his main motivation is that he wants to see what he's capable of with a clean bill of health. If Lesnar was able to reach such levels of success while battling diverticulitis, can you imagine what he'll be like when he's healthy?
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