Only a select few men can withstand a clean punch from Mark Hunt. Frank Mir was not one of them.
Hunt felled the former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder with a jarring right hand behind the ear in the first round of their UFC Fight Night “Hunt vs. Mir” main event on Saturday at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. Mir met his end 3:01 into round one, the victim of a walk-off knockout from “The Super Samoan.”
The soon-to-be 42-year-old Hunt continues to defy Father Time. He has compiled a 7-3-1 record across his last 11 appearances, with his only losses coming to No. 1 contender Stipe Miocic, former champion Junior dos Santos and current titleholder Fabricio Werdum. Hunt has taken out his last two opponents, Mir and Antonio Silva, in less than seven minutes combined. If there is a fountain of youth in MMA, the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner has tapped into it.
In wake of UFC Fight Night “Hunt vs. Mir,” here are five matchups that ought to be considered:
Mark Hunt vs. Alistair Overeem-Andrei Arlovski winner: No one knows how long the Hunt renaissance will last, but he has already bucked the conventional wisdom surrounding an old man succeeding in a young man’s game. The 41-year-old New Zealand native has rebounded from back-to-back losses to Werdum and Miocic with consecutive first-round finishes against Mir and Silva. Arlovski will face Overeem in a UFC Fight Night headliner on May 8 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Neil Magny vs. Tyron Woodley: Magny weathered a sustained punching barrage from former Bellator MMA champion Hector Lombard, roared back from the brink and became the first fighter to stop the American Top Team-trained judoka in their co-main event. According to FightMetric data, Lombard landed 64 of his 77 total strikes in the first round, nearly forging a finish of his own. Magny returned the favor in the second -- he connected on 142 strikes, 114 of them deemed significant -- before closing it out 46 seconds into the third. The Elevation Fight Team rep has won 10 of his past 11 bouts. Woodley was promised a welterweight title shot but has not fought since he was awarded a split decision against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 183 more than a year ago.
Jake Matthews vs. James Krause: Matthews has begun to shed his prospect label. The 21-year-old Australian walked away with the most significant victory of his career, as he submitted Johnny Case with a third-round rear-naked choke and snapped the Power MMA Team standout’s 12-fight winning streak in the process. Matthews has successfully rebounded from being guillotined by the unbeaten James Vick in May, pocketing wins over Case and Akbarh Arreola. A Bellator, World Extreme Cagefighting and Resurrection Fighting Alliance alum, Krause last competed at UFC Fight Night “Cerrone vs. Oliveira” on Feb. 21, when he claimed a unanimous decision over Shane Campbell.
Steve Bosse vs. Oluwale Bamgbose: Former hockey enforcers tend to pack quite a punch. Bosse wiped out James Te Huna with a short right hook in their brief middleweight showcase, as the Canadian needed just 52 seconds to close the deal. The 34-year-old showed no residual effects from his violent knockout loss to Thiago Santos in June and now has nine first-round finishes to his credit. A former Ring of Combat champion, Bamgbose last saw action at UFC Fight Night 83 in February, when he cut through Daniel Sarafian with a head kick and follow-up punches in 60 seconds at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Alan Jouban vs. Nordine Taleb: Jouban seems immune to dull fights. The Black House rep and Eddie Bravo protégé engaged in another barn burner, this time laying waste to Brendan O’Reilly with vicious elbow strikes and punches in the first round. Jouban has rattled off six wins across his last eight appearances, a disputed decision loss to Warlley Alves and a technical knockout defeat to the menacing Albert Tumenov his only missteps. Taleb has compiled a 4-1 mark in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Tristar Gym rep last fought at UFC 196 on March 5, when he took care of former Jungle Fight champion Erick Silva with one punch.