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Will Mark Hunt’s Confidence Overcome Roy Nelson’s Athleticism?

ufc fight night 52

Daniel Cormier and Brian Stann discussed the UFC Fight Night 52 main event between heavyweights Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson during a recent edition of “UFC Tonight.”

The two Top-10 fighters will tangle later this evening – early Saturday morning – from Saitama, Japan and the Saitama Super Arena. The entire card streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

Hunt (9-8-1) hasn’t scored an official win since early in 2013 when he put the finishing touches on a four-fight win streak. He lost later that year to Junior dos Santos, and finished out 2013 with a majority draw vs. Antonio Silva.

“Mark Hunt’s confidence could not be higher going into this fight,” Stann said. “Nelson won’t take him down. You’re going to watch one of the best in the division in Mark Hunt. He says he’ll knock Roy out in round three or four.”

Nelson, meanwhile, is 4-2 in his last six to push his overall mark to 20-9. That includes an April knockout of former interim UFC champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. All five of his Octagon defeats have come via decision, with two vs. former champions in Frank Mir and dos Santos, and two more vs. No. 1 contenders in Cormier and Fabricio Werdum.

“(Nelson’s) a phenomenal athlete,” Cormier said. “Even when he misses you with his punch, you here the wind go by your head. He throws his whole body into every punch.

“Roy Nelson will test that chin of Mark Hunt. He has the more well-rounded ability. He can stand with Mark and will win by taking him down and out-grappling him.”

Kenny Florian added his take on “Big Country,” saying “I think Nelson has more ways to win. His knockout power and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt skills – which we haven’t seen in a while. People forget how good he is on the mat.”

Other bouts set for the card include Myles Jury vs. Takanori Gomi, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Amir Sadollah and Miesha Tate vs. Rin Nakai. All the action starts at 12:30 a.m. ET.