Fight Picks – UFC Fight Night 52: Hunt vs. Nelson


For the first time in over eighteen months the Octagon returns to Japan as UFC Fight Night 52: Hunt vs. Nelson goes down at the Siatama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan this Friday night/Saturday morning on UFC Fight Pass. Check out my picks for the event as well as my bonus predictions and bet of the week.

Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson

If you love fighting, you love this fight. It’s basically two dudes who love a cheeseburger (or four) with iron chins throwing bombs at each other until one can’t find the energy to throw anymore. There is no way this fight can disappoint. It will either be an early knockout or a shootout for the ages.

Both men are veterans of the game who came to the UFC late in their respective careers. Hunt took on the best of the best in PRIDE before transferring to the UFC and putting together a career resurgence in the last few years to improve his once abysmal record to much more respectable 9-8-1 following wins over the like of Stefan Struve and Ben Rothwell. Nelson (20-9) was the IFL champion before beating Kimbo Slice on his way to winning TUF season 10. Big Country used to be a jiu-jitsu stylist but has transitioned his game to all-out striking attacks getting first round knockouts of Matt Mittrione, Dave Herman and Minotauro Nogueira along the way.

There isn’t much to hide in this match up. Nelson with fling overhand right hands while Hunt will pick his power shots from either side. With unbelievable chins on both men it really is a pick ’em fight but because of his superior technique coupled with the ungodly power, my picks is going to be, at a push, Mark Hunt.

PICK – Hunt via KO

Myles Jury vs. Takanori Gomi

This is a real battle of the generations as a young prospect looks to take out another legend on his way to the top. 25 year old Jury is an unbeaten 14-0 in his career with increasingly impressive victories along the way against the likes of Michael Johnson, Mike Ricci and Diego Sanchez. Gomi, on the other hand, is 35-9-1 having fought the world’s best in PRIDE and the UFC for over fifteen years.

Aptly nicknamed “The Fireball Kid”, Gomi fights with a wild style in all areas – looking to finish his opponent constantly. Jury is the polar opposite. The American is a jiu-jitsu black belt with a newly shined technical boxing game to rival some of the best in the division. Gomi will come out throwing hard, we know that. We also know that he will tire quickly. Jury is a master of avoidance and countering power strikes while having a gas tank that will easily last three rounds. I think this is a perfect style match up for Jury. Gomi is as tough as nails and won’t be an easy out but if Jury has improved even further from his last outing I can see him getting the finish.

PICK – Jury via KO

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Amir Sadollah

With both men being inactive in MMA competition for the last two years it’s pretty difficult to ascertain where their respective games stand right now. Sadollah has been a win-one-lose-one type of fighter before a series of injuries put him out of action. The American is good in every area but isn’t great anywhere; leading to many of his fights going to decisions. Akiyama, on the other hand, is a fighting and entertainment superstar in his home country and was 13-1 before losing his last four straight. The Japanese fighter has twelve career finishes but will find it difficult to get anything other than a decision against the gritty Sadollah. It’s going to be close but in the end, with home advantage on his side, I think Sexyama can eek out the win on points.

PICK – Akiyama via decision

Miesha Tate vs. Rin Nakai

In her UFC debut, Rin Nakai comes in with plenty of talk behind her after putting together an unbeaten seventeen fight MMA career with some familiar names on her record. She’s probably best known, though, for her outlandish promo videos and weigh-in attire. The fun will quickly end now on Friday night as she has been thrown into the fire for her first Octagon outing against former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate. I see this fight being won or lost in the wrestling department. Nakai is a strong grappler and has a record full of finishes but hasn’t met anyone with the wrestling and all around MMA ability of Miesha Tate. The Cupcake gets the more takedowns and wins the unanimous decision here.

PICK – Tate via decision


Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Richard Walsh – Kunimoto via decision

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Jon Delos Reyes – Horiguchi via submission

Alex Caceres vs. Masanori Kanehara – Caceres via KO

Katsunori Kikuno vs. Sam Sicilia – Kikuno via decision

Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Takenori Sato – Lim via KO

Michinori Tanaka vs. Kyung Ho Kang – Tanaka via decision

Kazuki Tokudome vs. Johnny Case – Tokudome via submission

Maximo Blanco vs. Dan Hooker – Blanco via decision


Fight of the night – Tate vs. Nakai

Performance of the night – Mark Hunt and Myles Jury


This card isn’t one of great value for the betters but my tip is a double of Mark Hunt and Miesha Tate which works out at around 6/4

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook

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