By Lance LeVan
UFC Fight Night 43 is being held in Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday, June 28th. This is a very unusual weekend. There are two UFC Fight Nights technically on the same day. Fight Night 43 in New Zealand and Fight Night 44 in San Antonio, TX. The NZ fights will start at 5am EST (because of the time change). The San Antonio fights will start at its regular time (10pm EST). Both of these Fight Nights are exciting in the fact that we are seeing a lot of new blood (excuse the pun) in the UFC. Any one of these faces could be the next Anderson Silva or Jon Jones.
James Te Huna (18-7-0) vs. Nate “The Great” Marquardt (35-13-2).
This is going to be a five round middleweight (185lbs) fight…and it is going to be brutal. Te Huna is a boxer and Nate “The Great” is a black belt in Pancrease as well as a 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. These guys REALLY like to throw hands and punch things. On paper, Te Huna has the better punching skill and speed. But when the fight finally goes to the ground (which it almost always does) Nate has the advantage. Neither of these fighters is a quitter and they will keep coming forward until they knock someone out…or they get KTFO. I think that either one of these fighters, with a win on Saturday, could very likely be put back in the top 20 rankings. At this level of fighting…it is difficult to predict outcomes. Since one lucky punch or a freaky submission could end someone’s night very quickly. If the fight stays standing up and they continue to throw punches all night…I have to give the fight to Te Huna. If someone gets a takedown and the fight goes to the ground…I give the fight to Nate. In the end, if I HAVE to make a prediction…I have to go with the experience. Nate has more than double the number of fights. I am not saying that experience is the “end-all be-all”…but there is something to be said for having been in this situation FIFTY (50) times. My prediction: Marquardt wins by submission in the fourth round.
(#14) Soa “The Hulk” Palelei (21-3-0) vs. Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt (10-1-0)
This is a three round heavyweight (265 lbs) fight. When you look at these two fighters on paper, this is going to be difficult to call. Palelei has good hands…very accurate, but Rosholt has equally good defense. Palelei has a 90% takedown percentage, but Rosholt has a 100% takedown defense, so far. Palelei is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu while Rosholt is a wrestler. This will definitely be a good match to watch. I think both of these guys will be out there to show Dana White and the UFC what they have to offer. Palelei will be trying to improve his ranking while Rosholt will be trying to break into the top 20. Neither of these fighters has many fights inside the UFC octagon, but once again, one of the fighters has more than double the total fights than the other. Palelei has much more experience and against high-level opponents. Hence, the reason for his #14 ranking. My prediction: Palelei wins via TKO in the third.
Hatsu Hioki (27-7-2) vs. Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (17-4-0, 1NC)
This is a featherweight (145 lbs) fight that should be action-packed. Both of these guys are fast and like to throw submission attempts. They both have a high percentage of fights won via submission. You are not likely to see either of these fighters sitting back and stalling. On the contrary, once this fight hits the ground…you’re going to see A LOT of action. When Hioki throws up a submission, usually it sticks and he gets the win. Oliveira throws up a lot of submission attempts and he finishes a lot of his fights that way. Oliveira appears to have the upper-hand when it comes to punching and I think, if there is an edge to be had in this fight…it is in the standing game. Oliveira throws more punches per round and has a higher TKO/KO rate. Hioki has more experience, but in this fight, I have to go with the stats…and the stats say… My prediction: Oliveira wins via submission in the third round.