In a battle of hard-hitting heavyweights, Hunt (10-8-1) proved the superior striker, becoming the first MMA fighter to ever knock out Roy (Big Country) Nelson (20-10). He used a crushing uppercut to score a second-round knockout of Nelson in the main event "UFC Fight Night" on Saturday at the Saitama Super Arena.
Hunt and Nelson went toe-to-toe from the start, with each scoring massive punches that threatened to end the fight at any moment. Nelson, the superior wrestler, also looked to take the fight to the floor on a handful of occasions, but Hunt was able to stay on his feet through the opening round.
As the second round began, Nelson finally dragged the fight to the floor, but Hunt rolled and bucked until he shook free and got back on his feet.
The 40-year-old from New Zealand, known as the Super Samoan, then began to time Nelson's attacks. When Nelson tried again to take the fight to the ground, Hunt countered with a massive uppercut that sent Nelson crashing face-first to the canvas.
Hunt walked away with his hands raised while referee Leon Roberts signalled the end of the fight at the 3:00 mark of the second and awarded Hunt the TKO.
Hunt, now 5-1-1 in his past seven appearances, appears certain to receive a marquee booking in his next fight. When asked who he'd like to face next, Hunt simply replied, "Anyone in the top-10."
In the night's co-feature, Myles Jury (15-0) registered the biggest win of his career, taking out Japanese legend Takanori Gomi (35-10) in just 92 seconds.
Jury came out firing kicks, but as he settled into a rhythm, it was his hands that did the damage. After avoiding a few wild Gomi haymakers, Jury scored flush with a right hand, putting Gomi down. Jury then pounced and sealed the first-round win with a flurry of punches.
"To come to Japan for the first time and have a win over a veteran like Gomi is amazing," Jury said after the fight. "It's a great stepping stone in my career."
The 25-year-old Jury is now 6-0 in the UFC.
Despite fighting for the first time in more than two years, the 39-year-old Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5) looked in peak form. He dominated Amir Sadollah (6-5) en route to a dominant decision.
Sadollah tried his best to kickbox the judo master but Akiyama was able to get inside and take the fight to the floor in all three rounds. From there, Sadollah struggled to regain his feet and suffered the loss by a unanimous decision. Akiyama had 30-27 scores on all three judges' cards.
"I was reassured that this is where I belong," Akiyama said after the win.
In a women's bantamweight matchup, former title challenger Miesha Tate (15-5) won by decision over newcomer Rin Nakai (16-1-1). And while Tate was awarded scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27, the victory didn't come without some challenging moments.
Tate used her height and reach advantage to strike from range but the stocky Nakai still managed to get inside and twice took her opponent's back. Tate, however, turned aside each advance and controlled most of the action en route to the unanimous-decision.
"I wanted to keep enough distance between us and not get caught by her takedowns," Tate said. "I was trying to be strategic and aggressive but not overzealous.
"I had to be careful when she was on my back."