The turnaround for Hunt has been nothing short of amazing.
It was only three years ago that fans were questioning his placement in the UFC. He was still eating KFC and riding a six-fight losing streak.
The UFC wouldn't have even picked up Hunt's contract if it wasn't included in the 2007 purchase of Pride Fighting Championships. UFC President Dana White offered to pay Hunt off instead of actually having him compete in the UFC, but the determined "Super Samoan" refused his offer and opted to step into the cage and resurrect his fallen career.
He has since gone on a four-fight win streak and is quite possibly one win away from earning a shot at the UFC heavyweight title. Unfortunately, the daunting task of defeating Dos Santos is the price of admission.
The former UFC heavyweight champ enters this bout as the deserving favorite. Hunt has re-emerged as a legitimate contender, but all of his opponents up to this point in the UFC pale in comparison to Dos Santos.
Despite a lackluster showing against Cain Velasquez at UFC 155, Dos Santos remains the premier boxer in the heavyweight division. His ability to move around in the pocket and put together combinations is unrivaled.
Fortunately, he won't have to deal with the otherworldly wrestling abilities of Velasquez in this bout. He can focus solely on dealing with Hunt's standup-heavy offense.
On paper, this is one of the more intriguing bouts so far this year.
Throughout his career, Hunt has been credited for having a granite chin and some of the most devastating knockout power in all of MMA. While Dos Santos is the better boxer, a case can be made that Hunt, a former K-1 fighter, is actually the more well-rounded striker.
Dos Santos' ground game is still a mystery up to this point. He showed tremendous defensive wrestling abilities in the first round against Velasquez. It'll be interesting to see if he opts to be more offensive with his grappling and take Hunt down to avoid dangerous standup exchanges.
Conditioning may play the biggest role in the outcome of this fight. Hunt has shown a tendency to slow down after the first round. Dos Santos isn't Velasquez by any stretch of the imagination in the cardio department, but he has already shown the ability to push well into the championship rounds.
Betting Odds (via bestfightodds.com)
Dos Santos -420
Look for Hunt to be competitive in the standup exchanges early, but Dos Santos' superior boxing and grappling will be the story of the night as he coasts to a unanimous decision and earns a rubber match with Velasquez (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
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