On Monday, MMAJunkie.com was first to report that the UFC was intalks with heavyweights Mark Hunt and DerrickLewis to actualize a heavyweight bout that would headline thepromotion’s second card from Auckland’s Vector Arena on June 11.Shortly after, FloCombat reported that the UFC was also working ona middleweight contest between Olympic judoka DanielKelly and DerekBrunson .
The UFC has not commented on either bout, both of which are in theearly negotiation process.
The 42-year-old Hunt fought just over two weeks ago at UFC 209 inLas Vegas, where he was knocked out by a series of knees from AlistairOvereem in the third round. “The Super Samoan,” a native ofSouth Auckland, is still under medical suspension due to a leginjury sustained early in his bout with Overeem and will need aphysician’s clearance before the bout is officialized.
Lewis has won six in a row inside the Octagon, most recentlypunching out TravisBrowne in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the UFC Fight Night bill onFeb. 17. “The Black Beast” is now 9-2 in the UFC ranks and his winstreak includes victories over “Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 winner RoyNelson as well as former UFC heavyweight title challenger GabrielGonzaga . If Hunt-Lewis comes to fruition, it will be the thirdstraight UFC Fight Night headlining slot for the Houston, Texasnative.
Kelly, 39, has won four straight in the UFC, most recently earninga split decision nod over former UFC 205-pound champ RashadEvans on the UFC 209 undercard. The four-time AustralianOlympic judoka now holds a 6-1 UFC record, with his lone losscoming in a 49-second knockout defeat to Sam Alvey inMay 2010.
Brunson is coming off of back-to-back losses, albeit inless-than-typical fashion. Last November, Brunson rocked risingKiwi prospect RobertWhittaker in their middleweight main event in Melbourne,Australia, only to have the tables turned quickly, with “TheReaper” head kicking him and flurrying for the first-roundknockout. Two and a half months later, the North Carolina nativereturned to face MMA legend AndersonSilva , but wound up losing a controversial split decision after15 minutes.
The UFC Fight Night bill from Auckland follows in the steps of thepromotion’s first effort in New Zealand, June 2014’s UFC FightNight card headlined by NateMarquardt ‘s knockout win over native son James TeHuna .