Welcome to another back to back UFC event extravaganza on the same day MMA fans, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship will head to Auckland, New Zealand first, then cap the night off back in the states, with a pair of featherweights headlining the card in San Antonio, Texas. James Te Huna and Nate Marquardt will exchange pleasantries in the main event of the New Zealand card, exclusively shown on Fight Pass. The prelims will start at 2:30 AM EST, while the main card will be shown in the U.S. at 5 AM EST. The morning card is on the menu first, which Australian fighter will stand above the rest? A card full of Aussies will leave many options on the table for fans and experts, to choose from.
James Te Huna (18-7) vs. Nate Marquardt (35-13-2) – Middleweight Bout It is quite hard to comprehend how two fighters, on losing streaks, can headline a card out of the states. Guess it may kind of help that hometown turf is involved for one of the headlining fighters. James Te Huna will look to end his two fight skid in his home country, against the roller coaster ride that is the career of Nate Marquardt. Nate “The Great” was quoted as saying that God led him to return to the UFC middleweight division. Will there be answers to ending his own three fight losing streak? Yes folks, the main event fighters are a combined 0-5 since 2013. Someone has to win, right? Minus the thought of this ending in a draw, the MMA Spotlight is heavily leaning towards the hometown favorite, James Te Huna. Give credit where credit is due, Te Huna’s last two losses came at the hands of a former champion, and a former title challenger, in a heavier weight class. Te Huna has the power to test Marquardt’s chin, a chin that has not held up his last two fights. Marquardt has won a combined three fights since 2010, and seems to have lost a step in his later years. Look for Te Huna to make a statement in his new weight class in his hometown, a knockout could be on the horizon. James Te Huna by Technical Knockout.
#14 Soa Palelei (21-3) vs. Jared Rosholt (10-1) – Heavyweight Bout Soa “The Hulk” Palelei has been nothing but impressive since making his return to the UFC.Jared Rosholt has been just as impressive though, with only one loss in his professional career. Rosholt has a very heavy wrestling base, and could grapple his way into a decision, it will be interesting to see how Palelei handles being on his back if taken down. “The Hulk” is used to being the one on top, delivering finishes in his last two fights in the mount position. Both UFC heavyweights have a bright future ahead of them in the organization, but one of them is going to be served with a setback notification in catastrophic fashion. Soa “The Hulk” Palelei will start to summon his inner green monster after spending the whole first round on his back, finishing this fight in the second round. Soa Palelei by Knockout.
Hatsu Hioki (27-7-2) vs. Charles Oliveira (17-4) – Featherweight Bout This may be possibly the best fight on the card. Hatsu Hioki is hanging onto employment by a thread after defeating Ivan Menjivar in Macao. Oliveira was considered a rising prospect with highly regarded submission skills, but sort of hit a few bumps in the road before making the move down to the featherweight division. Oliveira’s striking game is improving and he will look to use quick rushes to the close the distance on Hioki, hopefully taking this fight to his world of Jiu Jitsu. The two UFC featherweights will be sure to fire up a crowd in New Zealand, especially if they are in need of a little inspiration. Charles Oliveira by Unanimous Decision.
Robert Whittaker (12-4) vs. Mike Rhodes (6-2) – Welterweight Bout Nothing better than some hometown cheer, and some incredible punching power; in favor of New Zealand’s own, Robert Whittaker. A finisher Whittaker is, and a finish is what it may take to beat Mike Rhodes. Rhodes has the combinations and speed to out work Whittaker, which could lead to a decision in his favor if he can avoid exchanges with Whittaker. Experience, and the hometown advantage will prove too much for the 6-2 Rhodes, Whittaker will find a home for his punches sooner rather than later. Robert Whittaker by Technical Knockout.
In other notable fights Vik Grujic will be taking on another fellow Australian opponent, Chris Indich. Rising Australian prospect, Jake Matthews, will look to keep his record squeaky clean when he faces Dashon Johnson in the prelims.
Make sure to switch your TV channels over to FOX Sports 1 as the UFC will finish the night in San Antonio, Texas. For everything MMA, the Guardian Liberty Voice has it covered.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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