Up until three weeks ago, Fabricio Werdum was set to fight Cain Velasquez this Saturday for the UFC Heavyweight title. An MCL tear during training forced a reluctant Velasquez to pull out of UFC 180, allowing long-time veteran Mark Hunt to step in and fight Werdum for the interim belt.

The match-up is an interesting one. Fabricio Werdum will have had to completely change directions in his final month of training camp because Mark Hunt is an entirely different animal from the heavyweight champ.

While Werdum is riding a four-fight win streak, Hunt has gone 1-1-1 in his last 3 fights. However, since returning from a six-fight losing streak in 2011, Mark Hunt has proven himself as a force to be reckoned with in the UFC Heavyweight division.

Striking

Mark Hunt is a former K-1 Grand Prix World Champion and has made a name for himself in MMA as a knock-out artist. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Fabricio Werdum is no slouch on his feet either, boasting 5 victories by KO or TKO. He is also the faster fighter, but lacks the one-hit knockout power of Hunt.

Advantage – Hunt

Grappling

Grappling arts have proven to be Hunt’s Achilles’ heel. Six of his eight MMA losses come from submission. Conversely, Werdum is a four-time IBJJF World Champion, four-time Pan-American Champion, and two-time ADCC World Champion. 50% of his MMA wins have come from submission.

Advantage – Werdum

Conditioning

Both fighters arrived in Mexico City, the location for UFC 180, long before the fight. This allowed them time to both acclimate to and take advantage of the city’s elevation – 2250m – to improve their conditioning. However, Werdum had over a month longer to prepare before Hunt was offered the fight.

There has been a noticeable improvement in the gas tank of the “Super Samoan”, but his conditioning is still nowhere near that of the Brazilian’s. Werdum had been preparing to fight a remarkable athlete in Cain Velasquez, and his training camp would have been designed accordingly. Also, having the benefit of training at elevation for two months leading up to the fight Werdum is bound to be in the best shape of his MMA career.

Advantage – Werdum

Chance of Finishing

Mark Hunt fights one punch away from victory. Although Werdum has finished some fights by KO/TKO, he is not likely to knock Hunt out on his feet. His best chance of finishing is to get Hunt to the ground, which is not an easy task. Werdum is likely to try to win the fight from his feet, and only go to the ground if he feels at risk striking.

Advantage – Hunt

Prediction

The fight will go all 5 rounds. Werdum is fast enough to evade the shots Hunt swings for the fences, and tough enough to survive the ones that land. The fifth round will be a brawl fit for the Pride days, but Hunt will be unsuccessful hunting for the KO and Fabricio Werdum will win the decision.

About The Author

Quincy Mutter
Staff Writer

Quincy Mutter is a combat sports junkie and amateur mixed martial artist out of Niagara, Ontario. She fell in love with MMA while watching Demian Maia fight when she was 12 years old, and began training at 15. In addition to writing for The MMA Corner, Quincy is an administrator for the MMA Daily Facebook page and runs several of her own blogs.