Brock Lesnar is significant underdog vs. Mark Hunt in his UFC 200 return
Published on Monday, 6/6/16, at 4:40 p.m. Eastern.
Brock Lesnar will make his Octagon return at UFC 200 when he takes on eighth-ranked heavyweight contender Mark Hunt at T-Mobile Arena on July 9.
Lesnar announced his opponent Monday morning during an interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm on Sports Center. The promotion announced Lesnar’s return during its UFC 199 broadcast Saturday night at The Fabulous Forum.
Pinnacle was the first betting shop to send out a line earlier today, opening Lesnar (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) as a -200 favorite, only to adjust Hunt to the ‘chalk’ role within 26 minutes.
5Dimes opened Hunt (12-10-1 MMA, 7-4-1 UFC) as a -150 favorite over the former UFC heavyweight champ. As of late Monday afternoon, most spots had Hunt as a -195 favorite with Lesnar at +166 on the comeback (bet $100 to win $166).
The total is 1.5 rounds (‘under’ -210, ‘over’ +160).
Lesnar hasn’t fought since UFC 141 on Dec. 30 of 2011 when Alistair Overeem scored a first-round knockout victory over the 38-year-old former wrestler at the University of Minnesota.
Lesnar told Storm he was “honored” to be able to return to the cage for this co-main event at UFC 200. He famously destroyed Frank Mir at UFC 100 in what still stands as the UFC’s biggest ever pay-per-view seller.
Hunt put Mir to sleep with a first-round KO win in March. Hunt’s biggest strength is his striking, evidenced by six KO wins during his 12-fight UFC tenure. Hunt owns wins over Ben Rothwell, Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, Bigfoot Silva, Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva.
Lesnar won the UFC’s heavyweight strap in a second-round KO win over Randy Couture at UFC 91 in November of 2008. He made successful title defenses against Mir and Shane Carwin, but Lesnar lost the belt to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 in October of 2010.
After losing to Overeem, Lesnar announced his retirement and went back to pro wrestling with the WWE. Lesnar decided to start training for an MMA return two years ago when his WWE contract was set to expire, but he opted to sign another deal with the WWE fifteen months ago.
Lesnar appeared on ESPN at that time and said his UFC career was over. He told Storm today that he started regretting that decision “almost immediately.”
Whether this turns out to be a one-fight return remains unclear. The WWE released a statement confirming that it afforded Lesnar “a one-off opportunity” and that he would still be returning for SummerSlam on Aug. 21.