UFC Fight Night 43 Date: June 28, 2014 Arena: Vector Arena City: Auckland, New Zealand Middleweight bout: James Te Huna (-220) vs Nate Marquardt (+180) Fight Breakdown: The main event for UFC Fight Night 43 in New Zealand will be a middleweight tilt between New Zealand’s own James Te Huna, who will be making his divisional debut, and the veteran Nate “The Great” Marquardt, who will be making his return to the division. Te Huna is the betting favorite in this match-up at -220 ($220 to win $100), and Marquardt is the underdog at +180 ($100 to win $180) 5Dimes Sportsbooks. James Te Huna (16-7 MMA, 5-3 UFC) is coming off back to back first round defeats, most recently a first round knockout against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua over six months ago in Australia, and preceded by a first round submission at the hands of recent light heavyweight title challenger Glover Teixeira. The New Zealand-native possesses serious power in his hands, and is generally a decent striker, though his striking defense is not very good. His chin is now a concern, considering the fact that he was rocked in his bout against Ryan Jimmo and was just finished by Rua. The knockout against Rua was the first of loss via T/KO of his professional mixed martial arts career. He has good recovery, as was displayed in the Jimmo bout, but he had no chance to recover against Rua, as the counter by the Brazilian put him out cold. It wasn’t even a power shot that put Te Huna’s lights out, but merely a short left hook. The 32-year old’s submission defense leaves something to be desired, as well, so he wants to avoid going to the mat with the Brazilian Jiu-JItsu black belt in Marquardt. Besides the “Shogun” knockout, his two other losses inside the Octagon came by way of submission; the first against Alexander Gustafsson and the latest against Glover Teixeira. Both tapouts came inside the first round of action. Teixeira made easy work of him, but Te Huna was dominating Gustafsson in their bout and only lost because he gassed very early and got his back taken. He has had cardio issues in the past, though it has looked better as of late. Considering this is his first cut to 185-pounds, his conditioning Is certainly a big question mark going into this bout, and is something to keep an eye on. Nate “The Great” Marquardt (32-13-2 MMA, 10-6 UFC) is set to make his 17th appearance inside the Octagon and is very likely facing contract termination with a loss in this match-up. He is currently on a three fight losing streak; the very first of his professional mixed martial arts career. He lost his Strikeforce welterweight title to Tarec Saffeidine on the promotion’s final card, then returned to the UFC to be knocked out by Jake Ellenberger in the very first round of action. He last saw action at UFC 166 eight months ago, suffering another knockout, this time at the hands of Hector Lombard. Anderson Silva defeated him via TKO in their 2007 title fight, but Ellenberger and Lombard are the first two fighters to ever knock him out. Marquardt blames the knockouts on his weight cut, saying his chin isn’t the same at 170-pounds, so for that reason he is making his return to the middleweight division. In this match-up, he will be at a size disadvantage in the former light heavyweight Te Huna, though he will hold advantages in both technical striking and grappling. “The Great” is a talented submission artist who owns 15 professional career victories by way of tapout. His striking skills are also solid, as was evident and in full display in his fight for the Strikeforce welterweight title against Tyron Woodley, a fight in which he outstruck Woodley for over three rounds, knocking up out with a combination against the cage in the fourth. Marquardt trains at high altitude in Colorado and is generally well-conditioned, and now that he’s back at 185-pounds, I expect him to be able to go hard for 15 minutes against Te Huna, should the fight hit the judges’ scorecards. In fact, I feel he will have the edge in cardio in this bout, and that may play a factor, should the fight not result in an early finish. Gabe’s Prediction: Fighters engage. Fight hits the mat. Te Huna gets his back taken. Marquardt sinks in the choke. Fight over. Gabe’s Call: Marquardt by Submission (rear naked choke, 1:39 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Marquardt (+180) 3.5u to win 6.3u
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