Saturday night was probably the final UFC fight for beloved veteran Mark Hunt. But it wasn’t the sort of thriller for which the brawling “Super Samoan” became famous.
The 44-year-old Hunt, in the final bout of his UFC contract, engaged in a slow-motion heavyweight matchup with Justin Willis at UFC Adelaide. After two lackluster rounds, Willis had more in the tank in the third, as he sealed a unanimous decision victory. The judges’ scores at Adelaide Entertainment Centre were 29-28 across the board.
The opening round featured a lot of circling and not much throwing. But Hunt landed most of the strikes which were actually thrown, scoring with occasional kicks to the body and legs.
The script flipped in the second. Hunt threw fewer strikes this time around, but Willis, for his part, found a home with occasional jabs.
Just as people were starting to compare the fight to this year’s heavyweight stinker between Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou, though, Willis decisively showed up for the third round. While the pace remained methodical, Willis kept connecting with the jab, and threw overhands, occasional kicks, and even a knee as Hunt pressed forward.
With the round all but sewn up, the American Kickboxing Academy’s Willis circled away in the final minute so as to keep Hunt from landing one of his infamous big bombs.
After the fight, Willis gave the mic over to Hunt so the Sydney resident could speak to his Down Under brethren.
“My apologies about the fight,” Hunt said. “Thank you for the support, thank you so much.”
Willis is now 8-1 on his career, taking eight straight since dropping his pro debut. He’s 4-0 in the UFC. Hunt dropped to 13-14-1 (1 NC), with three straight losses and four in his past five fights.