Hunt Not Returning Against LeBanner at DREAM.5 (Updated)


Mark Hunt throws a left hand at Semmy Schilt. Photo courtesy of FEG.

Update 11:25 PM ET: MMA Weekly has now updated their article, stating that Hunt has informed them he will actually not be fighting LeBanner at the event due to injuries the Frenchman sustained in his recent kickboxing bout against Semmy Schilt. While it’s not set in stone that Hunt will still compete on the card, DREAM officials are currently searching for a replacement opponent.

While DREAM officials have yet to announce the bout, former PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt will return to action, replacing an injured Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, against fellow former K-1 kickboxer Jerome LeBanner at the organization’s upcoming fifth show on July 21st in Japan.

Hunt confirmed the bout himself in a recent interview with MMA Weekly. It will mark the fifth time in his career in which Hunt will have faced LeBanner in a combat sport. LeBanner owns three wins over hunt inside the confines of K-1.

“Yes, I’m fighting LeBanner,” Hunt said in the report. “He fought not long ago against Semmy Schilt (under K-1 rules), but that’s not my problem. I’m feeling good, looking forward to the fight and being back in MMA. Looking forward to hopefully get my first submission.”

The aforementioned bout between LeBanner and Schilt took place less than two weeks ago, leaving many questions in terms of LeBanner’s health, especially since the fight went to a decision. LeBanner has not fought under MMA rules since knocking out Jimmy Ambriz at a K-1 Hero’s event over two years ago.

Meanwhile after nearly five years as a professional kickboxer, Hunt bursted onto the MMA scene in 2004 and quickly shocked the world with consecutive upsets over Wanderlei Silva and Filipovic. Since then the New Zealand native has split his last four fights and has been concentrating on his part-time pro wrestling career during his time off since the demise of the PRIDE Fighting Championships.

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