Dec 29, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Junior Dos Santos leaves the ring after being defeated by Cain Velasquez during UFC 155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Hunt vs. Junior dos Santos: a battle of punching power

Former UFC Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos vs. K-1 World Grand Prix champion Mark Hunt.

This fight has been over a year in the making. After obstacles such as travel issues and misunderstandings between bosses, the match between these world champions will finally happen at UFC 160 and not only are both men looking to score a vicious knockout, but also, they are hoping to move one more step closer to No. 1 contender status.

Although dos Santos is coming off of a loss in his rematch against current title holder Cain Velasquez, the fighter known to fans as “Cigano,” has the hands to send anyone to the canvas, including Hunt. Other than the lone KO loss to Melvin Manhoef on his record, the “Super Samoan” had gone up against the best strikers in MMA, and managed to make it out of the fight due to his solid chin.

Hunt has also shown improvement in his ground game since his loss to Sean McCorkle, but dos Santos has grappling skills that could send anyone to the canvas. If the former UFC champion wants to get the quick win, he should take Hunt down in the opening frames of the fight.

Dos Santos faces the same challenge as several former champions when they returned to action after losing their title.

In his last fight against Velasquez, he had said he was facing some personal problems – something we all face. Obstacles, no matter how big or small, physical or emotional, can sometimes sneak up on his and keep us from our full potential.  The loss aside, Cigano seems more focused on getting his fighting career on track. Even if he loses the match to Hunt, the former champion

For dos Santos, winning this fight means he is one step closer to getting back his UFC title, but for Hunt there seems to be more at stake for him in this fight.

The Super Samoan came into the UFC with a 5-7 record. After his loss to McCorkle, some have speculated that his career, at least in the UFC, was over.

Even I had my doubts that Hunt would return to the octagon. But then came the KO over Chris Tuchscherer and then decision victory over Ben Rothwell at UFC 144. Hunt quickly added Chieck Kongo and Stefan Struve to his list of wins. The victory over Struve earned Hunt his first “Knockout of the Night” bonus.

Hunt, who had made a name for himself competing in Japan, was gaining success in the UFC, which has been difficult for some fighters who have come from Japanese organizations like Pride, Dream and Hero’s. Even if he loses to dos Santos, Hunt has gained enough of a winning streak and fan following to warrant him another fight in the octagon.

Putting the future aside, I’ll just come out and say it. For fans of the stand up game – myself included – this fight will be a treat. Both dos Santos and Hunt are known for their powerful hands and, between the two of them,  have a who’s who of names that have fallen after tasting their fists.

I’ll also come forward and say that I do not care who comes out the winner. I am a fan of both fighters and I will be happy no matter who gets their hands raised.

Who do you think will emerge victorious in this clash of strikers? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @alstover

Tags: Al Stover Junior Dos Santos Mark Hunt MMA UFC Ufc 160

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