BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 7°C Thursday 15 April 2021
Advertisement

UFC's quest for global domination continues with first New Zealand venture

There’s also a Texas show as the UFC doubles up.

Cub Swanson during his WEC days.
Cub Swanson during his WEC days.
Image: Eric Jamison/AP/Press Association Images

YOU CAN HAVE too much of a good thing. For years UFC fans wanted more action instead of the old once a month forays into the Octagon but now Dana White may have gone too much on the other side.

With events in New Zealand and Texas this weekend, the former obviously designed to tap into another new market, there are some good fights to look forward to.

But in all honesty, bar a handful of exciting fights, you would struggle to pick a card that would be shown on pay-per-view or the likes of Las Vegas between these two events.

Nevertheless, if anything these types of shows give an opportunity to the lesser known fighters trying to make a name for themselves so at least you know these men will be giving their all, which can make for some decent action.

UFC making their New Zealand debut

There is no doubting that Mark Hunt has put New Zealand on the global MMA map in the last few years with his vicious one punch walkaway KO’s and awesome displays of heart in his fights.

The buck has been passed to James Te Huna to take up the mantle and he headlines this event in an intriguing battle against Nathan Marquardt who returns to middleweight after suffering three straight losses at welterweight.

Te Huna has lost 2 in a row, albeit against Glover Teixeira and “Shogun” Rua but he has always displayed some decent boxing skills alongside his decidedly dodgy submission defence.

This could play into the hands of Marquardt who is a strong wrestler with solid BJJ and he could upset the New Zealanders here by taking it to the ground quickly and he could make short work of Te Huna if that happens.

Source: FuelTV AUS/YouTube

Te Huna’s compatriot, Soa Palelei has a much better chance of success against Josh Rosholt when the two collide in the heavyweight division. Palelei has stopped 9 of his last 11 opponents in the first round but won’t have it all his own way against the strong wrestler Jared Rosholt who will look to snap “The Hulk’s” hot streak.

Robert Whittaker graduated through The Ultimate Fighter at the same time as Norman Parke and he could be the one to provide the fireworks on this card as he has the always entertaining knockout or get knocked out attitude.

Fight Night 44 has a cracking headliner

There is no denying what the fight of the weekend is when you see that Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens are headlining the event in San Antonio.

Both men are well renowned KO artists with designs on a title shot which makes for a potentially explosive formula. Swanson has finished 4 out of his last 5 opponents while “Lil’ Heathen” has won 3 on the bounce.

In a fight this close there isn’t much to separate either man in any aspect. Both have great boxing skills, are strong wrestlers and can finish a fight from anywhere. But Cub’s momentum gives him the edge here so he should be the one calling for a title shot after getting his hand raised.

Source: whitemare96/YouTube

Elsewhere, recent TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum faces a stiff test to his unblemished record when he faces Nicholas Musoke in a battle of the top welterweight prospects.

Nobody expected Gastelum to beat the well fancied Uriah Hall in TUF season 17 finale but he did a solid if unspectacular job and he has continued at that pace in his UFC career so far.

His opponent isn’t that well known and poses a threat but Gastelum is due to up a gear here and finally finish an opponent.

Knickers in ‘weird’, ‘creepy’ twist at Wimbledon

Tennis player smacked in the head by 120kph serve from doubles partner

About the author:

Brian Kirk

Read next:

COMMENTS