Matches to Make Following UFC Fight Night 43 and 44
The UFC wrapped up another marathon day this weekend.
On Saturday, UFC Fight Night 43 was held in Auckland, New Zealand and UFC Fight Night 44 was hosted by San Antonio. The UFC Fight Night 43 card wrapped up with a Nate Marquardt submission win over New Zealand's own James Te Huna. Later, Cub Swanson ended UFC Fight Night 44 with a decision victory over Jeremy Stephens.
While both men picked up a win in main events, Swanson and Marquardt are in very different positions. Swanson is closing in on a shot at the 145-pound championship, while Marquardt likely saved his UFC career by winning against Te Huna.
As we close the book on another weekend of UFC fights, here is a look at who Swanson, Marquardt and the rest of Saturday's competitors should meet in their next outings.
UFC Fight Night 43 Undercard
Jared Rosholt defeated Soa Palelei by unanimous decision.
- Jared Rosholt vs. Todd Duffee
- Soa Palelei vs. Brendan Schaub
Charles Oliveira defeated Hatsu Hioki by submission in the second round.
- Charles Oliveira vs. Nik Lentz II
- Hatsu Hioki vs. Akira Corassani
Robert Whittaker defeated Mike Rhodes by unanimous decision.
- Robert Whittaker vs. Albert Tumenov
- Mike Rhodes vs. None (Release)
Jake Matthews defeated Dashon Johnson by submission in the third round.
- Jake Matthews vs. Joe Ellenberger
- Dashon Johnson vs. Kajan Johnson
Richie Vaculik defeated Roldan Sangcha-an by unanimous decision.
- Richie Vaculik vs. Josh Sampo-Patrick Holohan Winner
- Roldan Sangcha-an vs. Shane Howell
Vik Grujic defeated Chris Indich by (T)KO in the first round.
- Vik Grujic vs. Claudio Silva
- Chris Indich vs. None (Release)
Neil Magny defeated Rodrigo de Lima by (T)KO in the second round.
- Neil Magny vs. Alex Garcia
- Rodrigo de Lima vs. Andreas Stahl-Gilbert Burns Loser
Daniel Hooker defeated Ian Entwistle by (T)KO in the first round.
- Daniel Hooker vs. Tom Niinimaki-Chas Skelly Winner
- Ian Entwistle vs. Mark Eddiva
Gian Villante defeated Sean O'Connell by split decision.
- Gian Villante vs. Patrick Cummins-Kyle Kingsbury Winner
- Sean O'Connell vs. Francimar Barroso
James Te Huna
Matchup: None (Release)
These days, a headlining spot hardly guarantees job security with the world's top MMA promotion.
Entering his bout against Marquardt with two straight losses, Te Huna likely needed a win to remain with the organization. At the very least, he needed to show he could be competitive with an opponent like Marquardt at 185 pounds.
Instead, Te Huna gave up two takedowns and got caught in an armbar with under one minute remaining in the first round. Cutting to the middleweight division was supposed to help Te Huna keep fights standing, where he could utilize his knockout power.
However, Te Huna was once again exposed on the ground. With six submission losses, it doesn't appear Te Huna, who is 32 years old, will be able to develop into a legitimate contender.
With three straight opening-round losses, it appears Te Huna may now have to look to make improvement on smaller shows.
Matchup: Costas Philippou
In his return to 185 pounds, Marquardt turned back the clock and looked much closer to the fighter who made a run at Anderson Silva and the middleweight championship than the fighter who entered the weekend with three straight losses.
An intelligent MMA veteran, Marquardt recognized Te Huna's shortcomings on the ground and made sure to take the New Zealand native into that realm. The game plan paid dividends, as Marquardt locked up a slick armbar to end his frustrating skid.
Previously ranked in the light heavyweight division, Te Huna was not seen as an easy matchup for Marquardt at all. By beating Te Huna with such ease, Marquardt showed he might still have what it takes to compete with elite middleweights.
To test that possibility, Marquardt should next meet Costas Philippou, who presents similar threats as Te Huna with a stronger track record at 185 pounds.
UFC Fight Night 44 Undercard
Kelvin Gastelum defeated Nico Musoke by unanimous decision.
- Kelvin Gastelum vs. Ryan LaFlare
- Nico Musoke vs. Kyle Noke
Cezar Ferreira defeated Andrew Craig by unanimous decision.
- Cezar Ferreira vs. Ed Herman
- Andrew Craig vs. Uriah Hall-Thiago Santos Loser
Ricardo Lamas defeated Hacran Dias by unanimous decision.
- Ricardo Lamas vs. Clay Guida-Dennis Bermudez Winner
- Hacran Dias vs. Daniel Pineda
Clint Hester defeated Antonio Braga Neto by split decision.
- Clint Hester vs. Tom Watson-Sam Alvey Winner
- Antonio Braga Neto vs. Luke Barnatt
Joe Ellenberger defeated James Moontasri by split decision.
- Joe Ellenberger vs. Jake Matthews
- James Moontasri vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Carlos Diego Ferreira defeated Colton Smith by submission in the first round.
- Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Piotr Hallman
- Colton Smith vs. None (Release)
Cody Gibson defeated Johnny Bedford by (T)KO in the first round.
- Cody Gibson vs. Michinori Tanaka
- Johnny Bedford vs. Rani Yahya
Marcelo Guimaraes defeated Andy Enz by split decision.
- Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Nick Catone
- Andy Enz vs. None (Release)
Ray Borg defeated Shane Howell by submission in the first round.
- Ray Borg vs. Tim Elliott-Wilson Reis Winner
- Shane Howell vs. Roldan Sangcha-an
Oleksiy Oliynyk defeated Anthony Hamilton by submission in the first round
- Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Ruslan Magomedov
- Anthony Hamilton vs. Viktor Pesta
Matchup: Clay Guida vs. Dennis Bermudez Loser
With wins in his first three appearances at 145 pounds, Stephens clearly made the right call in dropping down to the featherweight division. However, his title hopes took a hit on Saturday.
Stephens landed over 100 strikes and hurt Swanson in the second round. However, Swanson threw and scored with an even higher volume of strikes to capture a decision win.
While Stephens will have to rebuild momentum, he shouldn't fall too far down the totem pole after an exciting fight with Swanson.
Fighters with similar styles to Stephens, Clay Guida and Dennis Bermudez are set to meet in July. Expect Stephens to meet the loser of that matchup.
Matchup: Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes Winner
Swanson keeps on winning and is making it hard on UFC matchmakers to deny him a shot at the featherweight championship.
Although Swanson didn't dominate Stephens, he put together am impressive outing. The Greg Jackson-coached fighter rebounded from a rough second round and ended up winning in the scorecards.
Now with six consecutive wins, Swanson is as hot as any 145-pounder not named Jose Aldo. While he's lost to Aldo and upcoming title challenger Chad Mendes, Swanson has earned those potential rematches as much as anybody has earned a 145-pound title shot.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.