The UFC fighters in Auckland, New Zealand came to put on a show from the opening bell. Sean O’Connell and Gian Villante came out winging it in the first bout of the card, and the action never slowed from then on, minus the heavyweight bout on the main card. Nate Marquardt finished off the New Zealand favorite, Te Huna, with ease, while Charles Oliveira and Hatsu Hioki put on quite the grappling exhibition for the audience in attendance. The fights do not stop here though; live on FOX Sports 1, featherweights Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens will both be possibly vying for a title shot with a victory. Another double-header already underway, time to review the first event of the day.
Nate Marquardt defeats James Te Huna via Submission (Arm-bar) Rd.1 Well Folks, that escalated rather quickly. The hometown favorite went down in a heap of flames after catching a knee early from Marquardt. Nate “The Great” fended off a double leg take down attempt, and swept Te Huna to the ground; where Te Huna was able to get back up immediately. Under three minutes left to go, James Te Huna presses forward and lands some heavy clean shots with Marquardt’s back against the cage. Nate got himself out of dodge there with a trip into mount position, Marquardt from there baited Te Huna into a perfectly executed arm bar when the New Zealand native tried sneaking out the back. What a great showing by Nate “The Great”, which now takes his name off the chopping block for the time being; but what about James Te Huna? Te Huna was the favorite coming in, but now has lost his last three fights, a magic number the UFC has used repeatedly to cut fighters. Everyone will get their answer soon enough.
Jared Rosholt defeats Soa Palelei via Unanimous Decision Such an exciting card makes up for this bit of a snooze fest here, as Jared Rosholt wrestled his way into another unanimous decision; his second lackluster bout in as many fights. There was a brief moment of life when Rosholt caught Palelei with a few upper cuts, dropping him to the mat in front of a booing New Zealand crowd. From then on it was nothing but the wrestling basics for Rosholt, as he got the take down early in the final frame, and “The Hulk” basically had no answers for the rest of the round. Rosholt snaps Palelei’s win streak at 11, and now is on his own seven fight win streak.
Charles Oliveira defeats Hatsu Hioki via Submission (Guillotine Choke) Rd.2 What a great grappling exchange between these two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts. Both had each other in per curious situations through two rounds, and for the most part, both were able to escape. Flying triangle choke attempts, standing guillotine effort had, leg lock attempts in the second; a beautiful grappling display happened right before the audience’s eyes between these two. Unfortunately for one of them, someone had to be caught sooner or later; that person was Hatsu Hioki. This marks the first time that Hatsu Hioki has ever been submitted, and it also marks his third loss in four fights in the UFC.
Robert Whittaker defeats Mike Rhodes via Unanimous Decision Robert Whittaker took care of business as he held off Duke Roufus product, Mike Rhodes, for a unanimous decision. Seemed as if kicks early and often were the plan of attack in the opening round for the UFC welterweight. Rhodes was never really much of a threat throughout the fight, leaving himself open for the taking by the heavy favorite in the opening bout of the main card. Whittaker sealed the deal in the third round when he slammed Rhodes to the floor with a double leg take down, and controlled it from then on. Whittaker finally stopped his skid at two, as he won for the first time in nearly a year. Rhodes is on the bad side of a streak, losing his second in a row.
Jake Matthews defeats Dashon Johnson via Submission (Triangle Choke) Rd.3
Richie Vaculik defeats Roldan Sangcha-an via Unanimous Decision
Vik Grujic defeats Chris Indich via TKO (Punches) Rd.2
Neil Magny defeats Rodrigo Goiana de Lima via TKO (Punches) Rd.2
Dan Hooker defeats Ian Entwistle via TKO (Elbows) Rd.1
Gian Villante defeats Sean O’Connell via Split Decision
In other notable matches in Auckland, New Zealand; bright new Aussie prospect, Jake Matthews, was able to continue his trend upwards with a submission victory over Dashon Johnson. Crowd favorites Vic Grujic and Neil Magny were able to walk out of the octagon with both earning TKO victories over their opponents.
The Guardian Liberty Voice will keep up the MMA coverage as the MMA Spotlight is live in San Antonio, Texas for UFC Fight Night 44 Swanson vs. Stephens. The action does not stop here, more mixed martial arts action is soon to come.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer leading the coverage in MMA