Mark Hunt pulled off a suprise win over ben Rothwell tonight at UFC 135 in a gruelling three round fight in the high altitude of Denver, Colorado.
The first round was surprisingly competitive with Hunt showing unexpectedly good takedown defense at times and also landing a few blows, with one chopping elbow opening up a cut beside Rothwell’s right eye.
Rothwell was looking good to though and his takedowns were fairly sharp for such a big man. His perseverance paid off as though as he finally started to find success and though Hunt managed to get up from the first couple, towards the end of the round Rothwell managed to produce a sustained period of ground and pound.
The surprises continued in the second round when after a relatively even period of stand-up Hunt closed the distance and executed a trip takedown against the cage.
This was no token takedown from the striker as he began to work some solid ground and pound, gradually wearing down a rapidly tiring Rothwell.
Just how tired Rothwell was became apparent when Hunt briefly stood up and then effortlessly moved to side control with his opponent making no attempt to get up.
Remarkably as the round came to an end Hunt was going for an armbar against the man who on paper is the much better grappler, but Rothwell hung on until the bell.
An absolutely exhausted Rothwell had to be carried by his coach Duke Roufus back to his corner and it appeared questionable whether he would even be able to get back to his feet for the final round.
It was touch and go, but Rothwell did stagger out to meet the bell on unsteady legs. Hunt was gassing too, but he did land another hard right that wobbled his opponent.
It was all getting very sloppy now as Rothwell failed with takedown attempts and Hunt secured a couple of his own but failed to do anything with it and had to be stood back up. Rothwell did manage to get on top of Hunt in the final seconds, but he simply had nothing left in the tank to even consider going for a finish.
And so it’s down to the judges and they give it to Hunt by uananimous decision. Despite fizzling out in the final round this was a good performance for Hunt who showed that he is working to become more well rounded and got a win over a seasoned MMA veteran as a result.