5 Things You Should Know About UFC Heavyweight Mark Hunt

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Mark Hunt enjoys reverence at levels few fighters ever experience.

Nearing the end of an illustrious combat sports career that has seen him move from Pride Fighting Championships and K-1 to Dream and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the 44-year-old Kiwi will lock horns with Alexey Oleynik in the UFC Fight Night 136 main event this Saturday at Olimpiysky Arena in Moscow. There, Hunt seeks to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to the fast-rising Curtis Blaydes on Feb. 10. While Hunt owns a pedestrian 12-11 record, his unexpected resurgence in the UFC has been marked by victories over Frank Mir, Antonio Silva, Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, Derrick Lewis and Ben Rothwell.

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As Hunt prepares for his five-round battle with Oleynik, here are five things you might not know about the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner:

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1. He rises to the occasion.

Hunt is the only man to have beaten both Mirko Filipovic and Wanderlei Silva, and he did it in back-to-back bouts. He defeated Silva by split decision at Pride Shockwave 2004 on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, ending a remarkable 18-fight unbeaten streak for “The Axe Murderer.” A year later at the same venue, he claimed a split verdict over Filipovic at Pride Shockwave 2005.

2. He managed to monetize his talents.

Since he joined the UFC roster in 2010, Hunt has accrued seven post-fight bonuses in his 16 appearances inside the Octagon. The two “Knockout of the Night,” three “Fight of the Night” and two “Performance of the Night” bonuses have been worth $425,000.

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3. He likes to globe trot.

“The Super Samoan” has fought in six different countries as a professional mixed martial artist, boxer and kickboxer: the United States, Australia, Mexico, Japan, France and New Zealand. Russia will become the seventh.

4. Top competition has been a lure, not a deterrent.

The 11 men who have beaten Hunt — Blaydes, Alistair Overeem (twice), Fedor Emelianenko, Stipe Miocic, Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos, Sean McCorkle, Gegard Mousasi, Melvin Manhoef, Josh Barnett and Hidehiko Yoshida — have 285 career victories between them. Four of the 11 are former UFC champions: Miocic, Werdum, dos Santos and Barnett.

5. Perseverance has long been a strength.

Hunt once went four years, nine months and 22 days between victories. He stopped Tsuyoshi Kohsaka with second-round punches at Pride Total Elimination Absolute on May 5, 2006 and did not win again until he knocked out Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 127 on Feb. 27, 2011. In between, Hunt lost to Barnett, Emelianenko, Overeem, Manhoef, Mousasi and McCorkle in succession. All six of them finished him inside one round.

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