The UFC is in Auckland this weekend as its favourite son, No.7 Mark Hunt (12-11-1, 1NC), is in the main event and fighting on home soil for the first time in his octagon career.
Facing him is the streaking Derrick Lewis (18-4-0, 1NC). “The Black Beast” has won seven straight, including impressive finishes of Travis Browne and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Both men weighed in at 265 pounds, so don’t blink. This fight could end quickly.
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.
TSN 5 MAIN CARD 10PM ET/7PM PT
ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI (14-1-0) VS MIZUTO HIROTA (19-7-2)
Andrews: Not a ton of UFC experience for either of these fighters. Hirota dispatched Cole Miller in his last contest, but Alex is the more aggressive fighter and with the home crowd at his side, I think he takes it to Hirota.
Andrews Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski via TKO
#8 TIM ELLIOTT (15-7-1) VS #12 BEN NGUYEN (16-6-0)
Andrews: A fun fight on paper, but the technical-minded Nguyen needs to put Elliott away early before he starts to cook. The longer this fight goes, the more the advantage goes to Elliott, as he will find a way to grind Nguyen down with his wrestling.
Andrews Prediction: Tim Elliott via unanimous decision
ION CUTELABA (12-3-0, 1NC) VS HENRIQUE DA SILVA (12-2-0)
Andrews: Don’t be fooled by the weigh-ins. Da Silva is not afraid of “The Hulk”.” He has a 92% KO rate and he will increase the percentage in Auckland.
Andrews Prediction: Henrique da Silva via TKO
DAN HOOKER (14-7-0) VS ROSS PEARSON (21-13-0, 1NC)
Andrews: Pearson’s style was figured out quite awhile ago and as a result, he is on the bubble with three straight decision losses. Hooker is looking to do the same, limit banging head-on, take some starch out of Pearson and get the fight to the ground where Pearson’s weakness lies. Pearson will try to use his boxing, but unless he can goad Hooker into banging, he is looking at another disappointing loss.
Andrews Prediction: Dan Hooker via unanimous decision
#8 DEREK BRUNSON (16-5-0) VS #15 DANIEL KELLY (13-1-0)
Andrews: I was impressed with how Kelly upset Rashad in his last contest and with the home crowd, I think he will do it again, despite a determined Brunson trying to avenge a disappoint loss to Anderson Silva. If Kelly’s judo and footwork can confuse Rashad, they can confuse Brunson too.
Andrews Prediction: Daniel Kelly via split-decision
#6 DERRICK LEWIS (16-5-0) VS #7 MARK HUNT (12-11-1, 1NC)
Andrews: Despite Hunt having the advantage of home soil, Lewis will prevail here when the dust settles. Lewis also has the advantage of takedowns and grappling if need be. Hunt is slowing down and while he is always one shot away from victory, it’s Lewis who will get his hand raised.
Andrews Prediction: Derrick Lewis via TKO