For the first time, heavyweight bouts will comprise an entire UFC main card at UFC 146: “Dos Santos vs Overeem” on May 26th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The latest addition to the main card pits former K-1 Grand Prix Champion Mark Hunt against 6’11” Dutch prospect Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve.
UFC officials confirmed the matchup today following an initial report from Yahoo! Sports. Hunt is in the midst of an improbable career resurgence that has seen him win three straight fights inside the Octagon. Struve has won four of his past five, with all four victories coming inside the distance.
Hunt (8-7-0), the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, made his mixed martial arts debut for Pride Fighting Championships in 2004. Despite limited ground skills, he won five of his eight fights for the promotion and totalled notable wins over Wanderlei Silva and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović along the way. After PRIDE’s collapse, Hunt suffered three straight losses in Japan. None of the bouts lasted more than 79 seconds. His UFC debut, which reportedly came as a result of a contract technicality, ended in similar fashion when Hunt was quickly submitted by Sean McCorkle at UFC 119. In one of the most remarkable career comebacks in recent years, however, Hunt has won three fights in a row including a first-round destruction of Cheick Kongo at UFC 144 on February 26th.
Struve (23-5-0) debuted one year later than Hunt, but the 24-year-old has maintained an extremely active schedule that included seven fights in 2007 and five more in 2008. His Octagon debut at UFC 95 ended in a quick defeat to current UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior “Cigano” dos Santos, but Struve has won seven of his nine UFC bouts since and appears poised to make a run at title contendership in the increasingly competitive heavyweight division. In October, Struve submitted another K-1 veteran, Pat Barry, with a second-round triangle choke and he most recently finished Dave Herman with punches at UFC on Fuel TV 2. If he is able to avoid the devastating knockout power possessed by Hunt, Struve may be able to take the New Zealander down and exploit his shaky submission defence.
UFC 146: “Dos Santos vs Overeem” takes place on May 26th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is headlined by a UFC Heavyweight Championship bout between Junior “Cigano” dos Santos and Alistair Overeem.
UFC 146 Fight Card (subject to change):
– Junior “Cigano” dos Santos vs Alistair Overeem [UFC Heavyweight Championship]
– Cain Velasquez vs Frank Mir
– Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs Roy “Big Country” Nelson
– Shane del Rosario vs Gabriel “Napão” Gonzaga
– Mark Hunt vs Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve
– Edson Barboza vs Evan Dunham
– Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy vs Duane “Bang” Ludwig
– Diego “Ceara” Brandao vs Darren “The Damage” Elkins
– Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs C.B. “The Doberman” Dollaway
– Glover Teixeira vs Kyle “Kingsbu” Kingsbury
– Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann vs Paul “Sassangle” Sass
– Mike Brown vs Daniel “The Pit” Pineda
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)