UFC Fight Night 43 hit your screens courtesy of UFC Fight Pass early on Saturday, and the card was not looking good on paper. Luckily, fights aren't fought on paper. It was a very fun event with several exciting clashes.
Amazing night of fights!!! Congrats to all the fighters on the card and thanks New Zealand u were an awesome crowd.— Dana White (@danawhite) June 28, 2014
In the main event, Nate Marquardt looked like his old self in a complete thrashing of James Te Huna.
It all started with a knee that dropped Te Huna. Marquardt took top position and laid in some good ground-and-pound, but Te Huna was able to survive and get to his feet. Te Huna tried to take Marquardt down, but it was the former title contender who ended up on top—in mount.
Marquardt was able to secure an armbar late in the first to pick up his first win at middleweight since a 2011 victory against Dan Miller.
|Result||Method of Victory||Round||Time|
|Gian Villante def. Sean O'Connell||Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)||3||5:00|
|Dan Hooker def. Ian Enwistle||TKO||1||3:34|
|Neil Magny def. Rodrigo de Lima||TKO||2||2:32|
|Vik Grujic def. Chris Indich||TKO||1||4:55|
|Richie Vaculik def. Roldan Sangcha-an||Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)||3||5:00|
|Jake Matthews def. Dashon Johnson||Submission (triangle choke)||3||3:16|
|Robert Whittaker def. Mike Rhodes||Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)||3||5:00|
|Charles Oliveira def. Hatsu Hioki||Submission (anaconda choke)||2||4:32|
|Jared Rosholt def. Soa Palelei||Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)||3||5:00|
|Nate Marquardt def. James Te Huna||Submission (armbar)||1||4:34|
This card was not thought to be much on paper, but the undercard delivered in a big way.
Gian Villante and Sean O'Connell opened the event with a 15-minute battle. It was nothing pretty, but it also was not very boring. Villante walked away with a narrow split-decision victory.
For a card that everyone (including myself) heavily criticized, UFC Fight Night 43 was pretty damn entertaining.— Adam Martin (@MMAdamMartin) June 28, 2014
The next three bouts were all finished by TKO.
Dan Hooker pelted Ian Entwistle with elbow after elbow as Entwistle went for a leglock. The referee saved Enwistle after he abandoned the submission attempts due to getting his face beat in by Hooker.
Neil Magny survived a scare in the first round to completely dominate Rodrigo de Lima in the second. He utilized his jab very well, hurt De Lima and finished.
Then, Vik Grujic stopped Chris Indich with just five seconds left to go in the first round of their encounter.
Richie Vaculik defeated Roldan Sangcha-an by unanimous decision in an entertaining scrap of young fighters.
The final preliminary bout featured Dashon Johnson battling 19-year-old Jake Matthews. The UFC may have a legit prospect on their hands with Matthews. The young kid looked absolutely phenomenal against Johnson. He looked the part of a complete mixed martial artist, and he finished Johnson in the third with a triangle choke.
Robert Whittaker got back on the winning side of things with a three-round decision victory over Mike Rhodes.
Whittaker defeated Rhodes in his element—the stand-up exchanges. Once Whittaker had the fight in hand, he even took Rhodes down to the floor. It was a performance that showed his improvements since his last outing.
The former The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes winner picked up a much needed victory.
Do Bronx Submits Hioki
Charles Oliveira became the first man to stop Hatsu Hioki in a fight, and he did it via submission.
The grappling exchanges started early, and they were everything we hoped they would be. Do Bronx seemingly won the first round, but it was close with each man having a little bit of time in the sun.
Oliveira suffered an inadvertent eye-poke in the second round, but he was able to continue. Once the ref re-started the action, Oliveira came out swinging. The grappling brilliance of both was soon back in full swing. Oliveira got out of bad positions, and then sunk in an anaconda choke.
Hioki had nowhere to go, and he was forced to tap out for the first time in his career. The submission will be on the shortlist for Submission of the Year, and it cements Oliveira as a top-15 featherweight.
Rosholt Outwrestles Palelei
Soa Palelei was fighting near home, but he was sent back with a loss. He tried to wrestle the American, and that plan backfired.
Palelei did manage to capitalize on a mistake in the first round to get mount, but he did not have enough time to threaten with a finish. After the first frame, Palelei seemed out of it. Rosholt took over. He hurt Palelei with uppercuts, but instead of going back to the striking, he was content to ride out a victory.
It was nothing fancy, but it was easy.
Marquardt Back at Home
The middleweight division is where Marquardt called home for many years, but he briefly left for welterweight. He returned on Saturday, and it was obvious he never should have left.
Marquardt looked absolutely fantastic, but time will tell if he has enough left to make another run up the middleweight ladder.
Te Huna was aggressive and wanted to perform well, but it was all downhill after the knee connected. He was not able to take Marquardt down, and he was not very successful on the feet. He had a brief moment of success, but that was it.
Marquardt put a cap on the first event of the day. He has generated a bit of excitement for his career, and now fans will be anxious to see what's next for the aging former middleweight title contender.
Fight of the Night: Gian Villante vs. Sean O'Connell
Performance of the Night: Nate Marquardt
Performance of the Night: Charles Oliveira