Not the Night for Home Fans (UFC Fight Night 43 Review)

ufc_fn43As the UFC travelled to New Zealand at UFC Fight Night 43 a number of fighters would learn what it was like to fight in front of their home crowds. It is something that many fighters have lived through with the UFC continuing to travel all over the world and featuring fighter from the countries in every international fight. The New Zealand Fighters would get their first experience at this and many Australian fighters would get theirs. Fighting at home is a mixed bag for fighters as it provides a more stable training camp with less travel and less adjustment but can also provide plenty of distractions for the fighters. When fighting at home the familiarity of the country or the city can be comforting for fighters. Many can simply train at home all the way up to the fight and not have to travel somewhere else. That is especially true for fighters in New Zealand and Australia who have to take a bit longer to adjust to the time change. That is eliminated when they fight in their home countries as there is no adjustments to be made. Then again they feel the pressure much more when they are at home and everyone in the stands and around the city are backing them hoping for the fighter to get the win and make the country or city proud. That pressure can sometimes overwhelm fighters and when added to the distraction of friends and family wanting tickets and wanting time from the fighters before they get into the octagon can mean a lack of focus for fighters. That is only when a fighter is on the fight card but everything gets ratcheted up when that fighter is the main event in the first fight ever in his home country. That is what James Te Huna would have to deal with when he faced off against Nate Marquardt at UFC Fight Night 43 in Auckland New Zealand. Te Huna would also be looking to a brand new weight class in his home debut as he would drop to middleweight for the first time in his career. As the pressure and the weight cut would be all new to Te Huna, his opponent Nate Marquardt would be turning back the clock. Marquardt had spent the last three years in the welterweight division but before then was one of the best middleweights in the UFC. He would make his return to the weight class in unfamiliar territory as he would be forced to travel halfway around the world to New Zealand and attempt to adjust. Both fighters went into this fight looking to make an impact after recent struggles in their former weight classes as a win in their first fight in the new weigh class would put them on the track to a run at the title. It would be an interesting matchup as well with both fighters being very well-rounded but liking to fight in different spots. Te Huna has great ground and pound that he prefers to use while Marquardt is more of a traditional stand-up fighter. Both had the ability to fight anywhere though and neither would feel uncomfortable wherever they went to the ground. That was shown quickly in this fight as the two would square off for only one round until the fight was over. Marquardt would quickly show his stand-up power landing a big knee early in the first round. From the knee Marquardt would get on top of Te Huna on the mat before Te Huna was able to get it standing again. After eating a few big shots Marquardt would take the find to the mat again and this time he would not let Te Huna get back up. After wrestling for a bit on the mat Marquardt would take an arm and earn the armbar to end the fight. The loss for Te Huna would be the third in a row as he now must look to recover and try to get back on the winning path before he no longer has a job in the UFC. It would only be worse that he lost in front of his home crowd that was immediately silenced in with the submission. For Marquardt it was an announcement that he is back in the Middleweight division and ready to make a run at the title once again.

Another fighter dealing with somewhat of a home fight was Soa Palelei who would make the short trip from Perth, Australia to Auckland for the co-main event. He would be facing much of the same pressure that Te Huna had seen when he took on Jared Rosholt in a heavyweight fight. Although Palelei is not a native New Zealander he is from close and when not fighting a Kiwi he would hear the cheers immediately as he walked to the octagon. The pressure to win would be great on Palelei who was looking to impress once again after running through the heavyweight division so far. With heavy hands Palelei was looking for more than just a win against Rosholt as he wanted to put on a show. Earning a knockout would set the fans off and would earn him some recognition as a true finisher in the division. Meanwhile Rosholt would come into the fight as the clear bad guy for the fans and was not necessarily looking for the knockout. If he could finish a fight he would but with multiple unanimous decisions on his record it was clear that Rosholt was more of a control fighter. He would go in looking to try to control the fight and take points where he could. The fight would start the way Rosholt wanted as he would control Palelei in the clinch and on the ground for the majority of the first round. That pattern would continue as Rosholt would stifle Palelei’s biggest weapon in his power. Continuing to press Palelei up against the fence Rosholt would control the fight from start to finish and would earn the unanimous decision win. The loss for Palelei will keep him among the lower fighters in the division but if he can continue to be exciting he may not stay their long. Meanwhile Rosholt has not won impressively but he has still won and will likely move up the rankings to better competition. In the end the fight card would be full of close to home fighters but when it came down to the last two fights the home favourites would fail under the pressure of the first fight in New Zealand.

 

Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
For his efforts in the main event and in his return to the middleweight division Nate Marquardt would make an impression on the UFC earning a Performance of the Night bonus for his submission win over James Te Huna

Performance of the Night
Charles Oliveira is making a habit of earning some extra cash when he fights as once again he would earn a fight bonus this time for his submission win against Hatsu Hioki in the main card

Fight of the Night
The night would open up in a big way for the UFC’s first time in New Zealand as Gian Villante and Sean O’Connell would put on the closest fight of the night and earn the Fight of the Night bonus for a fight that Villante would win via split decision

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Nate “The Great” Marquardt def. James Te Huna
(Submission; Armbar, Rd. 1)

Main Card:
Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt def. Soa “The Hulk” Palelei
(Unanimous Decision)

Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira def. Hatsu Hioki
(Submission; Guillotine Choke Rd. 2)

Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker def. Mike “Biggie” Rhodes
(Unanimous Decision)

Undercard:
Jake “The Celtic Kid” Matthews def. Dashon “Fly Boy” Johnosn
(Submission; Triangle Choke Rd. 3)

Richie “Vas” Vaculik def. Roldan “The Executioner” Sangcha-an
(Unanimous Decision)

Vik “The Spartan” Grujic def. Chris “The Savage” Indich
(KO; Rd. 1)

Neil Magny def. Rodrigo “Monstro” De Lima
(TKO; Rd. 2)

Daniel “The Hangman” Hooker def. Ian “Enty” Entwistle
(TKO; Rd 1)

Gian Villante def. Sean “The Real OC” O’Connell
(Split Decision)

 

Upcoming Events

UC 175: Weidman vs. Machida (Saturday July 5th; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (Mandalay Bay Events Center)
Main Event: Chris “All-American” Weidman vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida [Middlweight Title]
Notable: “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis [Women’s Bantamwieght Title]
Notable: Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve vs. Matt “Meathead” Mitrione

The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale (Sunday July 6th; 8:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (Mandalay Bay Events Center)
Main Event: BJ “The Prodigy” Penn vs. Frankie “The Answer” Edgar
Notable: TUF 19 Middleweight Title [Matchup TBD]
Notable: TUF 19 Light Heavyweight Title [Matchup TBD]

UFC Fight Night 45: Cerrone vs. Miller (Wednesday July 16th; 8:00 pm ET)
Atlantic City, New Jersey (Revel Atlantic City)
Main Event: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Jim Miller
Notable: John “Hands of Stone” Lineker vs. Alp “The Turkish Delight” Ozkilic
Notable: Gleison Tibau vs. Pat “Bam Bam” Healy

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