At UFC 180 in Mexico City this weekend, Mark Hunt took on Fabricio Werdum for the UFC interim heavyweight championship. Werdum was originally scheduled to face off against Cain Velasquez – the whole point of the event being in Mexico – but an injury to the champion saw him forced off the card.
Though Hunt had taken the fight at late notice and wouldn’t have been as prepared as he’d have liked, can we extrapolate from the fact that he was stopped by Fabricio Werdum that his famous chin is waning?
It’s hard to decipher when the circumstances weren’t ideal for The Super Samoan, but the odds on Werdum emerging victorious via KO were staggeringly high – the Brazilian was a huge favourite, with betfair.com having him a firm 1/4 on, but not many saw him using his striking arsenal to nail the Sydney native.
Mark Hunt is the fighter that famously took a prime Cro Cop’s shin to the head and continued; he beckoned on hard-hitter Ray Sefo to punch him in the jaw with no protection. Now, however, he’s been knocked out by a middleweight Melvin Manhoef in K-1, and finished by Junior Dos Santos in the UFC.
Adding to that, a BJJ stylist (albeit with improving striking), in Fabricio Werdum did what few thought he was capable of and hurt Hunt with a knee before ending his night with punches.
In a long career against the best fighters in K-1 history, he was stopped inbetween rounds twice but never knocked out. They say your chin leaves you and the forty year old is no spring chicken, but then you look to his recent war with Bigfoot Silva and still have to maintain the faith that he has it.
Without it being put to the test again we won’t know for sure as fatigue could have been an issue in the Octagon this time round. Maybe though, just maybe, one of the sport’s most legendary chins has had its day.