LAS VEGAS -- In the end, Rocky loses. That's what many people forget about the Oscar-winning film that most underdogs cite as they try to rise towards the top. Rocky loses. The glory is in the effort.
Mark Hunt will have to let that console him. Hunt, the man the UFC didn't want, the man who lost to Sean McCorkle, the man who somehow surged back from a career that was left for dead.
Hunt worked his way back towards relevancy and became a contender, but the story ended at UFC 160. It ended violently and decisively, at the end of Junior dos Santos' fists and knees and, ultimately his foot.
The former UFC heavyweight champion worked his way through Hunt's defense and finally finished him after a spinning heel kick at 4:18 of the third round.
dos Santos said it was the first time he'd ever thrown the kick in a fight, and it floored Hunt. A few cursory strikes brought an end.
"He's very dangerous," dos Santos said afterward. "I have to respect him. He's a dangerous and very nice guy. I like people like him. I did my best. This time everything was right and I won."
dos Santos (16-2) screamed as he stressed the final two words. The Brazilian was fighting for the first time since losing his title to Cain Velasquez last December, and he didn't bow to the pressure, or Hunt's firepower. Instead, he danced around on the outside, got to Hunt's chin first on nearly every exchange, and kept up the pressure to the end.
According to FightMetric, dos Santos landed 74 significant strikes to Hunt's 29.
Hunt (9-8) had his only threat in the second, when he cracked dos Santos with a left hook against the cage. He followed with a right cross and a second left hook, but dos Santos took the barrage before circling free.
Winning the fight, he should earn another crack at the championship.
"I want it so bad," he said. "I believe I can be the champion again and I'll do my best to get there."
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