UFC 180 Opening Odds Breakdown: Fabricio Werdum vs. Mark Hunt

Mark-Hunt UFC 180: Werdum vs. Hunt Date: November 15, 2014 Location: Mexico City, Mexico Venue: Arena Ciudad de México Broadcast: PPV UFC heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum Fabricio Werdum (18-5-1) is probably best known as the man who ended the 28-fight unbeaten streak of MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko with an incredible triangle choke submission upset back in 2014. Werdum’s foray into the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix nearly a year later met a quick end at the hands of Alistair Overeem via unanimous decision in the quarterfinals, but he bounced back following the fold of Strikeforce in his first two UFC fights, brutally defeating Roy Nelson in a one-sided decision at UFC 143 and then scoring a TKO victory against Mike Russow at UFC 147. Werdum then took the time to coach opposite of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 2, which culminated in Werdum becoming the second man to ever submit “Big Nog” when he won by armbar at UFC on FUEL TV 10. The BJJ black belt and ADCC grappling champion decided to wait for his heavyweight title shot after that win, but an injury to UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez led to a title elimination fight against Travis Browne at UFC on FOX 11. Despite being an underdog, Werdum beat Browne to pull off the upset and earn a title shot against Velasquez. Werdum coached opposite Velasquez on TUF Latin America, but after and injury to Velasquez forced him out of the contest, Werdum now takes on Mark Hunt for the interim title in the main event of UFC 180. UFC heavyweight contender Mark Hunt The great Mark Hunt (10-8-1) may not have the most impressive record at first glance, but he has fought a murderer’s row of MMA Hall of Famers in his career. This K-1 Grand Prix winner had a great career in kickboxing up until he made the transition to Pride where he would pull of the biggest upset of 2004 with a win over Wanderlei Silva. He also defeated a prime Mriko Cro Cop in 2005. Hunt would then go on to lose six fights in a row to the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Gegard Mousasi, Josh Barnett, Alistair Overeem, Melvin Manhoef and Sean McCorkle, who submitted Hunt in his UFC debut, but he never gave up on his MMA dream. The UFC wanted to buy out Hunt’s Pride contract, thus paying him not to fight, but Hunt refused and went on to a four-fight winning streak, knocking out Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo as well as defeating Ben Rothwell and Chris Tuchsherer by vicious KO before he was placed in front of Junior dos Santos in a title elimination fight at UFC 160. Hunt would lose the Fight of the Night against JDS in an absolute war, but he bounced back with a Fight of the Year contender against Bigfoot Silva at UFC Fight Night 33, a bout that would end up being a draw. Hunt broke his hand in the fight but after missing most of 2014 he returned to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 52 against Roy Nelson and ended up winning by KO in round two. Following an injury to UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, the UFC called upon Hunt to fill in for Velasquez against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 180, and now Hunt will get a chance to reach his goal of becoming the heavyweight champion of the world when he faces off against Werdum for the interim title in what should be an absolute war. Opening UFC 180 Main Event Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Werdum a -300 favorite (bet $300 to win $100) while Hunt opened as a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220) at Several Bookmakers. Although Velasquez vs. Werdum was set to be a great matchup, Werdum vs. Hunt is an acceptable replacement for the interim crown. Werdum has looked tremendous in the UFC and in his last fight against Browne we saw the evolution in his striking and with his improved standup skills and already-elite ground game, Werdum is definitely one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the division. That being said, so is Hunt. He might not have much experience in the sport, but has worked hard to become a true mixed martial artist and with his trademark knockout power, he has the ability to finish anyone in the division. Hunt is taking this fight on short notice, though, which is a huge concern, and that, combined with Werdum’s gigantic advantage on the ground, and it makes sense the Brazilian is the favorite heading into this title fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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