This was not easy to watch.
Stipe Miocic laid waste to 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt, capping a dominant performance with a fifth-round technical knockout in the UFC Fight Night “Hunt vs. Miocic” main event on Saturday at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia. In what will go in the books as a beatdown of historic proportions, Miocic sealed the beloved Kiwi’s fate with one final burst of ground-and-pound 2:47 into round five.
The fight was never competitive, and the eye-popping statistical data it generated tells the tale. Miocic outstruck “The Super Samoan” by a staggering 361-46 margin in total strikes -- the most lopsided strike differential in Ultimate Fighting Championship history, according to UFC President Dana White. The 361 strikes landed also set an all-time record for a single fight, surpassing the mark set by Chael Sonnen (320) in his submission loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in August 2010. Per FightMetric, Miocic out-landed Hunt 125-6 in the third round, 62-7 in the fourth and 70-0 in the fifth.
In wake of UFC Fight Night “Hunt vs. Miocic,” here are six matchups that ought to be considered:
Related » By the Numbers: Miocic vs. Hunt
Stipe Miocic vs. Cain Velasquez-Fabricio Werdum winner: Miocic could soon benefit from the shallow nature of the heavyweight division. Though his decision defeat to Junior dos Santos figures to remain a sore spot with some, the 32-year-old has risen to the top of a list of potential title contenders. Miocic now owns a 7-2 record in UFC competition and has fewer warts than his current rivals: Dos Santos has two lopsided losses to Velasquez on his resume, while Travis Browne has an April 2014 setback against Werdum hanging over his head. They are the only three heavyweights that warrant consideration at the moment. Barring injury, Velasquez will defend his heavyweight crown against Werdum at UFC 188 in June.
Robert Whittaker vs. Thales Leites: No fighter’s star shined brighter Down Under than Whittaker’s. The 24-year-old “Ultimate Fighter” winner bulldozed Brad Tavares in their co-headliner, as he dismissed the Hawaiian with a pair of left hooks and follow-up punches just 44 seconds into the first round. Whittaker has rattled off three consecutive victories since his TKO loss to Stephen Thompson at UFC 170 a little more than a year ago and seems to be trending in the right direction. Nova Uniao’s Leites extended his winning streak to eight fights in January, when the 33-year-old choked Tim Boetsch unconscious with a second-round arm-triangle at UFC 183.
Mark Hunt vs. Andrei Arlovski-Travis Browne loser: Hunt must deal with the questions that follow any 41-year-old fighter on the receiving end of an epic beating. Assuming he forgoes retirement, licks his wounds and returns to the cage, there is no shortage of potential opponents. Hunt’s resurgence has been one of the more remarkable stories in MMA for the better part of three years, but reality seems to be setting in. He has won just one fight -- his knockout of Roy Nelson in September -- since March 2013, leaving one to wonder exactly how much he has left in the tank. Arlovski and Browne will tangle at UFC 187 on May 23.
Sean O'Connell vs. Nikita Krylov-Marcos Rogerio de Lima winner: O’Connell threw caution to the wind in his romp over Anthony Perosh, as he needed all of 56 seconds to take care of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. A protégé of Jeremy Horn, the 31-year-old pinned Perosh along the fence and let loose with a series of hooks and short uppercuts that resulted in a standing technical knockout less than a minute after their featured light heavyweight clash began. O’Connell touched off his UFC run with losses to Ryan Jimmo and Gian Villante but has since rebounded with finishes on Perosh and Matt Van Buren. Krylov will take on de Lima at UFC Fight Night “Jedrzejczyk vs. Penne” on June 20 in Poland.
James Vick vs. Chad Laprise: In a showdown between undefeated lightweights, Vick stood tall. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 graduate handed Jake Matthews his first loss, as he submitted the 20-year-old Australian prospect with a guillotine choke 4:53 into the first round of their scrap at 155 pounds. Since entering the UFC in 2013, Vick has picked up victories over Matthews, Nick Hein, Valmir Lazaro and Ramsey Nijem. Their combined record: 41-11. Laprise stayed unbeaten at UFC 186 on April 25, when he captured a unanimous decision over Bryan Barberena at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Daniel Hooker vs. Diego Brandao: Hooker became the first man to stop former Shooto and Sengoku champion Hatsu Hioki on strikes, as he felled the Japanese veteran with a head kick and follow-up punches 4:13 into the second round of their undercard affair at 145 pounds. The 25-year-old has won seven of his past eight bouts, a decision loss to Maximo Blanco the only misstep. The enigmatic Brandao returned to the winner’s circle at UFC on Fox 15 in April, when he sliced open Jim Hettes’ ear with an elbow strike and forced a first-round doctor stoppage.