Mark Hunt wore Derrick Lewis down, luring him into a TKO stoppage with powerful punches at UFC Fight Night 110 on Saturday in Auckland, New Zealand.
While Lewis was searching to move up the ranks and build on a six-fight winning streak, he couldn’t find an answer to Hunt’s experience.
Neither was quick to engage, each respectful of the other’s power. Though each man landed the occasional shot, neither fully committed to the big finishing blows that they’re each known for in the early going, instead patiently looking for the opening.
The second round was big for Hunt. He landed several big shots late in the round, starting with his patented overhand right, and kept the pressure on. Lewis answered with several good shots of his own, but Hunt plowed through them and landed more frequently and with heavier hands.
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The third frame was again a close round, but Lewis’ gas tank began to visibly empty during the round. Though neither did much damage, Hunt began working the body, likely picking up on Lewis’ depleting energy.
Continuing where round three left off, Hunt began to press even more, while Lewis continued to get slower and slower. As Hunt began landing more frequently with his jab, Lewis could barely manage lateral movement, becoming a stationary target.
Hunt rocked Lewis late in the round. Although Lewis dug deep for one desperate jumping knee, it only served to open him up for Hunt, who moved in with several hard punches that sent Lewis to the fence. As Lewis covered up, Hunt kept attacking, leaving the referee no choice but to stop the fight.
It was an impressive performance by Hunt, who continues to fight against performance enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts, to the point of engaging in legal action against the UFC over the matter, while still managing to compete in the Octagon.
The 43-year-old, however, knows his career is winding down.
“I’ve only got a few more fights left. For me, if it ended here tonight, then so be it. I’ve had a good run,” Hunt said after the fight. “I’ve had a lot of fun. It looks like it’s still continuing though.”
Surprisingly, however, it appears that it won’t be continuing for Lewis, who also took to the microphone after the fight.
“It’s probably my last fight. I’m getting married next week and I don’t like to put my family through all this. That’ll be my last fight,” said Lewis.
Interviewer Brian Stann tried to clarify whether or not Lewis was definitively retiring, but the big man would only say, “Most likely, it’ll be my last fight.”
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