Nate Marquardt vs. James Te Huna: Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Both struggling, Nate Marquardt and James Te Huna will look to turn things around at 185 pounds.
A former UFC middleweight title challenger, Marquardt has struggled since he became Strikeforce welterweight champion with a win over Tyron Woodley. The veteran has lost three in a row and could be fighting to keep his MMA career going on Saturday.
Te Huna began his UFC career with wins in five of his first six bouts, and he only lost to Alexander Gustafsson during that span. More recently, back-to-back knockout losses against Glover Teixeira and Mauricio Rua have caused the New Zealand-born fighter to seek new scenery.
Fight Night 43 headliners Nate Marquardt and James Te Huna are a combined 0-5 in their last 5 fights. Something's gotta give next week.— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) June 19, 2014
While Marquardt and Te Huna have not been successful lately, the pair will headline a UFC fight card held in Auckland, New Zealand, this weekend. As the intriguing middleweight bout approaches, here is a closer look at how Marquardt and Te Huna match up in all areas.
Marquardt and Te Huna are both heavy hitters, but the headliners have also ended up on the wrong end of knockouts recently.
In his most recent outing, Te Huna threw a wild lead uppercut with his right hand low. The result was a counter left hook from Rua that left Te Huna unconscious.
Marquardt isn't the knockout artist that Shogun is, but he does have the power to make Te Huna pay for these mistakes. When Demian Maia failed to set up a leg kick against Marquardt, he paid in the form of a knockout loss via a counter right overhand.
Te Huna will likely want to turn this matchup into a brawl. However, he'll need to tighten up his defense in order to make that an effective approach.
At the same time, Marquardt has shown equally big defensive holes when standing. The former King of Pancrase was only knocked out by Anderson Silva once in his first 45 MMA bouts, but he's now been finished with strikes in his past two outings.
Like Te Huna did against Rua, Jake Ellenberger stormed forward against Marquardt with his non-punching hand low. Marquardt was not able to capitalize on that occasion, though, so Te Huna may be able to get away with some errors as long as he keeps the former Strikeforce champion on his heels.
If this fight does stay standing, it should come down to the first big shot landed.
Neither man has shown an overly sturdy chin lately, and they have nearly identical striking stats, with both fighters landing 52 percent of their strikes thrown and absorbing 46 percent of opponent attempts. So, the advantage has to go to the harder hitter, which one would have to think should be Te Huna, given that he's coming down from 205 pounds.
Edge: Te Huna
Prior to his knockout loss against Shogun, Te Huna's biggest problems always resulted from him failing to remain standing.
In his preceding outing, Te Huna had a jab ducked by Teixeira, which led to an early takedown. While the jab is usually a good strike to throw when worried about counter takedowns, Te Huna lacks speed, and that may show even more against a former welterweight like Marquardt.
Having taken down Yushin Okami and Woodley, Marquardt is more than capable of exploiting Te Huna's issues with defending takedowns. Considering he was knocked out in his past two fights, Marquardt will also almost certainly be prepared to use his wrestling.
Te Huna has utilized takedowns on occasion, but he did so against fellow brawlers. Considering Marquardt's abilities on the ground, it's unlikely Te Huna will attempt any takedowns on Saturday.
Should this matchup feature any takedowns, it's likely Marquardt will be the one scoring them all. And as long as he avoids exchanging with Te Huna, Marquardt should be scoring them in mass.
In seven career losses, Te Huna has been submitted five times.
With 15 career submission wins, Marquardt will definitely be aiming to finish his adversary on the canvas. Having submitted stronger grapplers, such as Jeremy Horn, Marquardt has a good probability of forcing Te Huna to tap should this fight hit the ground.
Marquardt's forced Horn to tap with a guillotine choke, which happens to be the technique that most recently resulted in a Te Huna submission loss. Stuck in a front-headlock position against Teixeira, Te Huna worried too much about blocking potential knees and not enough about fighting the Brazilian's grip.
Having the time to ensure the guillotine choke was secured, Teixeira pulled guard with confidence and quickly finished Te Huna. If Te Huna gives up his neck this weekend, Marquardt isn't going to waste the opportunity to hand the New Zealand native a sixth submission loss.
If done incorrectly, cutting down to a new weight class can backfire badly.
However, I'll give Te Huna the benefit of the doubt and assume he can hit 185 pounds without sacrificing too much. A physical specimen at 205 pounds, Te Huna could be too much for Marquardt to handle at 185 pounds.
Marquardt spent much of his career in the middleweight division, so he was a large welterweight in his past few fights. Still, he was able to make 170 pounds, and that should be enough to illustrate the size difference in this matchup.
Conditioning might be an issue for Te Huna at this weight class. That said, if he's beating Marquardt, he's doing so early on anyway.
Edge: Te Huna
Marquardt might be on his last legs, but the former Strikeforce champion is only three years older than Te Huna. He has more miles on him, but Marquardt's experience could be very important in this matchup.
This fight comes down to Marquardt's abilities to take Te Huna down before eating a big punch.
Consecutive knockout losses have to have taught Marquardt that his chin can't hold up like it once did. He'll be cautious until Te Huna leaves an opening for a takedown, and Marquardt will end his losing streak with a submission.
Marquardt defeats Te Huna via submission in the first round.