UFC Fight Night Auckland – what the local experts are saying
New Zealand has some of the most talented fighters, proven coaches and enthusiastic fans on earth. I’ve asked a few of them for their opinions regarding tomorrow night’s UFC at Vector Arena. Our panel of experts consists of:
Daniel Richardson – Journalist APNZ/Sports writer extraordinaire.
Israel Adesanya – Professional fighter
Carlo Meister – Head Coach/Owner Core MMA
Mark Craig – Coach San Bu Kai – Core MMA/Official/Former fighter
Arash Shadan – Owner New Zealand Fighter/Former fighter
Daniel Hennessy – Ring Announcer
Lucas McIver – P4p Biggest MMA Fan in NZ
James Te Huna vs Nate Marquardt
Arash Shadan – Both men are looking to start winning again. Nate will need to take this fight to the ground and use his advantages in the grappling department to win this fight. James will need to keep this fight standing and use his advantages as the harder and faster hitting. I expect for Te Huna to win early 2nd round.
Daniel Richardson – James Te Huna by TKO Round 2.
Israel Adesanya – The main event is hard to call, I’m a fan of both guys and they both have a lot at stake in this fight. Nate always looked great at 185, but I think Te Huna could be a lot better at this weight. This could be the fight of the night and I’ll be cheering for James.
Carlo Meister – Te Huna should KO Marquardt, second or third round.
Mark Craig – End of the day, James is going to KO Marquardt. It’s going to be the hometown advantage – Te Huna is going to go out there and get berserk.
Daniel Hennessy – Te Huna by TKO Round 3 from ground and pound.
Lucas McIver – Te Huna by TKO Round 2.
Soa Palelei vs Jared Rosholt
Daniel Richardson – Soa Palelei by TKO Round 1.
Israel Adesanya – I’m going with Soa cuz he’s on a roll lately and must be hella confident especially in NZ. He just has to make sure he doesn’t gas out.
Mark Craig – Soa has that Polynesian connection with Auckland and I reckon he’s awesome. I think he’s only 4-5 wins away from a title shot.
Daniel Hennessy – Hulk Round 2 TKO
Lucas McIver – Soa via Round 2 TKO
Robert Whittaker vs Mike Rhodes
Daniel Richardson - Robert Whittaker by TKO Round 3.
Israel Adesanya – I’ll go with Whittaker because he’s explosive and knows how to finish fights.
Mark Craig – Whittaker is coming off an absolute towelling from Stephen Thompson, he just couldn’t handle the distancing. But I think in this one the haka is coming out. We’re warriors, it doesn’t matter what race you come from; you feel it. He’s going to take this one on points.
Daniel Hennessy – Whittaker late TKO Round 1.
Lucas McIver – Robert Whittaker via decision.
Daniel Hooker vs Ian Entwistle
Arash Shadan – Daniel has power and BJJ skills to finish the fights. Ian is a mainly ground fighter. I predict Hooker will finish Entwistle early by submission after shaking him.
Daniel Richards – Daniel Hooker by TKO Round 2.
Israel Adesanya – I’ve trained with Dan, his stand up is clean and he knows how and when to throw. His ground game is solid too…I’m picking Dan!
Carlo Meister – Dan Hooker vs Ian Entwistle is going to be a very interesting fight. As long as neither of them get UFC debut jitters, I think it will be high paced with a first or second round finish. I’m gonna say Hooker with the win.
Mark Craig – I think all of the Kiwi boys are going to go well but I also think [Strikeforce] coach Aaron Boyes deserves a lot of credit in this one. He deserves the recognition as an old time legend. This is the highest profile event he’s had a fighter in, and that’s a nod to his effort over the years. Dan Hooker will take it out.
Daniel Hennessy – Daniel Hooker by submission Round 2.
Lucas McIver – Dan Hooker via Fight of the Night.
So, it looks like our judges are unanimous in their verdict – tomorrow night will belong to the locals, and it’s an awesome time to be a martial arts fan in New Zealand.