UFC Fight Night 110 tips: The best bets as Lewis faces Hunt in Auckland
The American has the tools to upset the hometown hero when the Octagon arrives in New Zealand...
Derrick Lewis v Mark Hunt
Currently on a six-fight win streak with five knockouts, Lewis can push himself into heavyweight title contention with a win in Auckland this weekend.
The American stopped Travis Browne in his last bout with a huge right hand followed by a barrage of punches on the ground, despite being hurt badly by body kicks early on.
It was an impressive win that showed heart and knockout power, but this fight against Hunt – an Auckland native – should be much tougher.
Hunt is one of the UFC’s most dangerous heavyweights, with each of his last five wins coming inside the distance.
But the 43-year-old has lost four of his last six fights – although one of those was turned into a no contest due to Brock Lesnar’s failed PED test – and was knocked out badly by Alistair Overeem last time out.
He’s slowing down, and is in danger of being mauled by a faster, younger fighter in Lewis.
Another stoppage win looks likely for the American, but he might take a while to get Hunt out of the Octagon.
Lewis’ last three fights have all ended in the second round or later, while Hunt has not been stopped in the first since September 2010.
Back Lewis to win by KO, TKO or disqualification at
Back the fight to last over 1.5 rounds at
Derek Brunson v Dan Kelly
Kelly has earned this spot on Saturday night’s card by beating fighters that are bigger, faster and younger than himself.
The 39-year-old Australian has only lost one of his 14 professional MMA fights, and earned a split decision win against former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans in his last bout.
Kelly doesn’t hit hard or move fast, but he has endless stamina and has won four of his last six fights by decision.
Brunson is a slick wrestler who holds plenty of advantages over the experienced judoka, but the American has lost his last two fights – although he perhaps deserved to beat Anderson Silva in February.
He has been known to run out of gas quickly, and if he is unable to stop Kelly early on he will be in real danger of losing a decision.
Given how Kelly has been able to upset the odds throughout the career, backing him to win by decision looks to be tremendous value at .
Only six of Brunson’s 21 fights have gone the distance, and he will be relying on the possibility of an early knockout win.
Back Kelly to win by decision at
Back the fight to go the distance at
Dan Hooker v Ross Pearson
Pearson desperately needs a win on Saturday night.
The 32-year-old from Sunderland has lost his last three fights and has only won four of his last 12.
It’s difficult to see how he will beat rangy New Zealander Hooker, though.
The 27-year-old will hold a sizeable reach advantage and should also enjoy a stamina boost from moving up to lightweight for the first time in the UFC.
That should allow him to negate Pearson’s greatest strength – his boxing.
Hooker has lost three of his last five fights and seven of 20 overall, but has been stopped just twice, both times by submission.
Given that Pearson’s last seven fights have all ended with decisions, this one should go the distance.
Back Hooker to win at
Back the fight to last over 2.5 rounds at
Ion Cutelaba v Henrique da Silva
This should be a brawl between two relatively young fighters looking to break through.
Cutelaba has won 12 of his 16 professional bouts – nine by knockout – while all of da Silva’s 12 wins from 14 bouts have come inside the distance.
The key is whether Cutelaba can use his superior wrestling to keep his opponent pinned to the mat.
The Romanian is the bigger fighter, but is not as technical a striker as da Silva and would risk a knockout by standing up for large periods.
Ultimately, though, he should be able to take down the Brazilian, who was submitted by Paul Craig in December after growing tired from defending takedowns constantly.
Whether it’s another submission, a big bomb or a barrage of strikes on the ground, Cutelaba should be able to get the 11th first-round win of his career.
Back Cutelaba to win at
Back the fight to last under 1.5 rounds at