Stipe Miocic is one of the great enigmas currently active in the UFC heavyweight division: a fighter in the upper echelon of the top ten who many believe may one day be championship material, but who was knocked back down the ladder in his first real run for the top by former champion Junior Dos Santos late last year.

The JDS fight was not all bad news for Miocic, however. He certainly held his own with one of the best heavyweights of our time, proving that he deserves to remain in the mix. Now, he gets another shot at a top fighter, one with arguably the heaviest hands in the industry: Mark Hunt.

As the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 65, all eyes will be on these two men, and it’s a key fight for the division: both fighters are coming off losses, and seeing as they’re ranked fourth and fifth in the division, someone is going to be sitting pretty at the end of the night, while someone else will be heading to the back of the line.

Here’s what Stipe Miocic needs to consider to ensure that, in the end, he comes out ahead in this one.

Be Wary Of Hunt’s Power

This one goes without saying. Hunt is one of the heaviest hitters in the division’s history, and that’s not hyperbole. He broke Stefan Struve’s jaw. He’s the only man to knock out Roy Nelson in the UFC. He’s capable of changing the course of a fight in a single strike, so for any foe of Hunt, the best course of action is to be on guard for those big punches — especially in the opening frame of the bout.

Use The Nelson Fight As A Blueprint

The fighter perhaps most comparable to Hunt, at least on the resume of Miocic, is Roy Nelson. Nelson’s another big guy who likes to hit hard, but tends to fade after the opening round. When Miocic faced Nelson back in 2013, most were expecting another big win for Big Country, who at the time was on a three fight win streak. Instead, Miocic outworked and out-maneuvered Nelson for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory. That’s exactly the blueprint Miocic needs to follow in Australia Saturday.

Focus on Footwork, Be The Better Boxer

Boxing is all in the footwork, right? Miocic is a former Cleveland Golden Gloves winner who, should he focus on footwork, utilize the jab, and mix in a few kicks, should be able to run circles around Hunt, who is pretty unlikely to try and take the fight to the ground. In short, Miocic is the better all around mixed martial artist and athlete, and simply needs to show it.

Hunt is a tough competitor with a lot of heart, but Miocic has all the skills to beat him — he just needs to put them all on display Saturday night.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.