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
Daniel Hennessy – Ring Announcer
Lucas McIver – P4p Biggest MMA Fan in NZ
James Te Huna vs Nate Marquardt
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
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.