Mark Hunt & Curtis Blaydes Set For UFC 221
The UFC confirmed a matchup between Mark Hunt and streaking heavyweight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221, which takes place at the Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia, on February 11th.
Hunt was removed from a main event bout opposite Marcin Tybura at UFC Sydney following concerns over health issues that Hunt discussed in a feature for the Players Voice. Hunt butted heads with the UFC over the incident, which was compounded by the lawsuit that he is currently involved in with the company. The popular heavyweight is also suing the UFC, Dana White, and Brock Lesnar for allegedly withholding knowledge that Lesnar was using performance-enhancing drugs ahead of their bout at UFC 200 in July 2016.
The UFC Sydney main event was changed to have Tybura instead face former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum, a fighter that Hunt is not fond of. In an interview with Sporting News, Hunt described Werdum as a “little chicken rat” and said he was hoping to face the Brazilian again after losing to Werdum at UFC 180 three years ago.
Instead, Hunt will take on Blaydes, who has won his last four fights. At UFC 217, “Razor” picked up a strange TKO win over Alexey Oleinik when the fight was momentarily stopped after it looked like Blaydes landed an illegal kick on his downed opponent. Though Oleinik could not continue, it was ruled that Blaydes’s kick was not the deciding factor and he was given a win rather than a disqualification loss.
UFC 221 will be headlined by a middleweight title bout between champion Robert Whittaker and challenger Luke Rockhold.