Mark Hunt is Officially a Contender

Was it ugly? Yes. Was it technical? No. But t was heavyweight MMA at its finest. Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve engaged in a messy, technique-less battle at UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Saitama, Japan and I loved every minute of it.

Early on, it appeared as if Struve would cruise to an easy submission victory. The Dutch grappler pulled guard and Hunt looked helpless on the ground. But after gaining mount, Struve lost position when Hunt rolled onto his back. That allowed the Samoan to gain top position and land a few blows of his own.

Hunt then showed off his sneaky athleticism in the second round when he foot-swept Struve to the ground. While it probably wasn’t the smartest fight strategy, Hunt at least showed that he could survive on the ground and even managed to land a few powerful blows of his own.

The third round began and both fighters were clearly gassed. Struve, instead of pulling guard, decided to stand and trade with the former K-1 champion. That was a huge mistake: even a gassed Hunt can throw big bombs. Hunt landed hook after hook and eventually was able to stagger Struve. Hunt pounced with a big left hook and ended the fight for good.

Where does this leave Hunt? In my mind, he’s in line for a title shot. In any other division in MMA, there is no chance a guy with such a limited skill-set as Hunt would even sniff a title shot. But heavyweight MMA is a different animal. This fight showcased that fact. We saw terrible cardio, horrendous fight IQ, and poor grappling. None of that mattered though, because Struve is a top-ten fighter and Hunt beat him.

Now the Samoan has a four-fight win streak in the UFC. Is it unbelievable? A little bit. Is it fun? You bet it is. Let’s keep it rolling and give Hunt a title shot with one more win.

We all know that there are some terrible match-ups for Hunt near the top of the division that he would almost assuredly lose. A fight with Junior dos Santos would end quickly. Even Antonio Silva would probably take him down and submit him. But if he were given a fight against a guy like Frank Mir, he would have a legitimate chance to knock him out. If he were to win, the next stop would be a date with the UFC Heavyweight Championship.