It will be remembered long after both men are gone from the sport much like the old days of MMA heavyweights like Don Frye, Mark Coleman, Mark Kerr, Dan Severn and many more in UFC and Pride are remembered today. Our generation will be passing on tales of this battle urging the next generation to watch this magnificent fight.
My own personal favourite heavyweight fight before this was Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia but that fight was all about one man’s (Couture’s) story and how he executed a game-plan to perfection to defy the odds and become champ once again. But this fight has raised the bar so much higher, this fight is all about both men and the battle they went through.
We all went into this fight expecting someone’s head to be knocked off. “No way this one is getting out of the first round”, I said to myself while Hunt and Bigfoot squared off at the weigh-ins. This fight far exceeded everyone’s expectations. This fight was expected to add devastating KO to the long list of highlight reel finishes in the UFC but the whole fight became the highlight.
A back and forth twenty-five minute war that both men looked like they could win at any moment. Bigfoot looked to have Hunt in trouble with leg kicks forcing the ‘Super Samoan’ to limp and switch stance. Then Hunt floored Bigfoot with a straight that knocked the Brazilian straight onto his backside and pounced trying to get the finish by reigning down elbows and strikes. Fortunately both men survived their scares of near finishes and many more after it including Bigfoot mounting Hunt and Hunt splitting Bigfoot with an elbow.
Bloodied-up in the last round, hands low down by their sides, panting heavy, digging deep, these two men never stopped working landing punch after punch. Hunt, a 264lbs man who is 39-years-old, on paper should not be able to do this and Bigfoot, a 6’4-265lbs giant, somehow withstands the same punches that broke Struve’s jaw and pummelled many more to the deck and still has the capability of being a threat himself.
Fight Metric revealed that a total of 184 ‘significant strikes’ were landed and is the most in UFC heavyweight history. This gives you an idea of what an absolute war this was, any one of those ‘significant strikes’ from either fight had the potential to finish this or any fight.
“This is insane!”, I said to myself repeatedly during the fight and when the final bell rang and the cutmen, cornermen and officials swarmed the ring to fix-up and clean the blood and sweat off both fighters I had this satisfaction in what I saw that I completely forgot about the decision. I never once thought to myself that “oh he done this, or he done that so I think the winner is….”. As both men stood either side of the referee I looked at both fighters and I felt bad thinking that one man will leave remembering this fight as a loss and what happened next was the perfect end to a storybook fight. It was ruled a majority draw (click here for official scorecards).
It reminded me of Rocky 1, when Rocky left the ring 100% satisfied with a split decision loss. A draw in MMA is usually met with backlash but this time it was accepted. Both men seemed happy with it and well deserved the ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus and any other bonuses they will/should get.