UFC Fight Night 43 in New Zealand and UFC Fight Night 44 in San Antonio were each held on the same calendar day (Saturday, June 28th) and rewarded fight fans with 21 scraps within a 24 hour period. It was a solid night of fights for the UFC, and there were eight performers who each took home a $50,000 bonus check for their efforts… Nate Marquardt earns Performance of the Night for his armbar submission of New Zealand native James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 43, which came in the tail end of the very first round in the evenings headliner. It was an impressive outing by Marquardt, who took some hard shots from Te Huna in the fight. He looked great in his return to the middleweight division, and more importantly, to the win column. Charles Oliveira earns Performance of the Night for his second round submission of veteran Hatsu Hioki at UFC Fight Night 43 in New Zealand. It was a very entertaining, back and forth fight between the two talented grapplers. Oliveira suffered an eye poke in the second round and was badly hurt by it, but he toughed it out and fought on. When the fight hit the mat again, he secured a modified version of the Peruvian necktie and Hioki was forced to tap. The loss marked the first time Hioki has been finished in his professional mixed martial arts career, so it is a huge feather in Oliveira’s cap. Ray Borg earns Performance of the Night for his first round rear naked choke submission victory of promotional newcomer Shane Howell at UFC Fight Night 44 in San Antonio, which is not too far from Borg’s home-state of New Mexico, so the flyweight felt right at home. He took Howell down just seconds after the fight started, and soon after had full back control. It didn’t take long for him to sink up his signature choke and earn his first official win inside the UFC’s Octagon. Carlos Diego Ferreira earns Performance of the Night for his first round submission of The Ultimate Fighter season 16 winner Colton Smith at UFC Fight Night 44 in Ferreira’s adopted home-state of Texas. Smith tried to get the Brazilian to the mat, but the Brazilian judo tossed him and ended up in superior position, quickly locking up a choke and getting the tap at just over half-a-minute into the fight. It was a very impressive promotional debut for the undefeated Brazilian, who gave up his Legacy FC lightweight title in exchange for a UFC contract. Gian Villante and Sean O’Connell earn Fight of the Night for their three round war at UFC Fight Night 43 in New Zealand. The light heavyweights went toe-to-toe for 15 minutes of action, and the fight saw both fighters have their moments, with Long Island’s Villante getting the better of O’Connell en route to a split decision victory on the judges’ scorecards. It was the very first fight on a 10-fight card and was the perfect way to get the action started in New Zealand, especially considering it was the first UFC fight to ever be held there. Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens earn Fight of the Night for their close, five round scrap in the evening’s headliner at UFC Fight Night 44 in San Antonio. It was a very fun fight that had the crowd cheering for all 25-minutes of action. Stephens was getting the better of Swanson early on in the fight, dropping him with his heavy right hand a couple of times, but the WEC veteran made a comeback and convincingly took the final three rounds on the judges’ scorecards, reassuring fight fans and UFC brass that he is ready for his five round title fight against the winner of Aldo vs Mendes.
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