The UFC once again returns to Australia for another flagship show down under. This time the stop is Brisbane on the Gold Coast, a venue last visited in December 2013.
There are six fights on the main card but I’ll be covering the standout fights as I see them. As always, 5Dimes will be providing you with the odds.
Te Huna v Bosse:
Entering the octagon with an unenviable record of three consecutive defeats is one time prospect James Te Huna. For a very brief period in his time in the UFC, Te Huna was being touted as a possible title contender; at least while Jon Jones was cleaning out the division single handed. The planets failed to align for the Antipodean and the promise dissipated. To be fair he ran into a trifecta of former Champions and Challengers but was extremely exposed in first round losses to each. Now without a win in over three years one cannot help but feel this is a farewell opportunity in front of his home crowd.
Steve Bosse was called up to the UFC when the return of Rampage Jackson went south. With Rampage pulled from the card due to contractual matters with Bellator, it was Bosse who was called up to face Fabio Maldonado. Legal issues were resolved, Rampage fought and Bosse went back into bubble wrap. He has only fought once in the UFC, it lasted less than 30 seconds.
It’s hard to see any upside for either fighter in this matchup. Both are at the wrong end of their respective careers and without a win in three years. If I am making a case for either fighter to secure a win then I am going with Te Huna. While his recent record is very poor the calibre of fighter he has faced is far superior to Bosse who just feels overmatched at this level. It could end with the first strike but the value lies with the hard hitting Te Huna by knockout.
Recommendation: Te Huna wins by TKO/KO – 2 units at -130 (4/5) @ 5Dimes
Lombard v Magny:
Making his comeback after a year out with a ban for drugs is Hector Lombard. The subsequent No Contest that overturned his win on the night means that he one-time Olympian is now two years removed from his last official win. Lombard had a history of withdrawing from fights due to injury; the steroid ban has only heightened the suspicion of the legitimacy of those injuries. In the new days of USADA in MMA that is no longer an option, but questions must be asked of how good he is now that he is clean.
Neil Magny is one of those fighters that I am really getting a liking for. He has been written of more times than anyone would dare admit and he still keeps winning. Sure, it’s not always pretty but since when was MMA pretty all the time? Seven wins on the spin and nine from ten speak volumes for the skillset he possesses, and his loss? It was a submission loss to the best BJJ fighter currently active on the roster, Demian Maia. Photos surfaced of Magny attending Maia’s next seminar which just made me like him even more.
For clues to this outcome we should look at what happened to the legions of Brazilian fighters following the ban on TRT and how their win/loss record has been affected. Lombard may well be the real deal but victories over BJJ legends like Jake Shields account for nothing until he has been proven clean. Physically he has the advantage, even edging the skillset but the doubts will remain and Magny could be the man to expose him.
Recommendation: Magny wins by 3 round decision – 2 units at +160 (8/5) @ 5Dimes
Hunt v Mir:
Perennial staple of the UFC cards in Australia, Mark Hunt is once again dusted down for reappearance. At UFC 193 in Melbourne he provided a more conclusive finish to his rematch with Bigfoot Silva. That fight took place in the very same arena as this one and if it’s even half as good then it will be a resounding success. After an unlikely run at the title faltered Hunt found himself on the receiving end of a KO to Fabricio Werdum and a one sided mauling at the hands of Stipe Miocic. Ironically, both men will now be fighting for the title while Hunt watches on.
Once the golden boy of the UFC Frank Mir planted himself firmly on the comeback trail with back to back wins over Bigfoot Silva and Todd Duffee; both fights in which he was the clear underdog. This was hardly unexpected given his four fight losing streak at the time; a streak which seriously put his tenure on the line. Against Andrei Arlovski it was a step too far and a prosperous 2015 came to an end. At this juncture of his career he may be safer looking at fights with an exhibition edge than one to advance up the ladder.
Both Mir and Hunt have evolved as fighters, despite their advancing ages. For Hunt he has become more rounded and less volume-based in his striking. For Mir, he has evolved into less of a ‘chinny’ fighter than he used to be; to which decision losses to Arlovski and Overeem would attest. I don’t see this fight ending via submission, as much as this would favour Mir and it’s extremely unlikely that this goes five rounds. I’m going with Hunt purely on striking prowess and while I was tempted to take the Under 1.5 round line, I’m going to play conservatively and take the big man to win inside the distance at a reasonable line.
Recommendation: Hunt wins inside distance – 2 units at -157 (8/13) @ 5Dimes