Former Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nate “The Great” Marquardt ended a three fight losing streak by submitting James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 43 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Must Win Fight

The 35 year old Marquardt found himself in a must-win situation after three straight losses in the welterweight division. Marquardt had been fighting in that weight class for the last three years after winning the Strikeforce welterweight title against Tyron Woodley in 2012. But Marquardt immediately yielded the belt to Tarec Saffeidine in his first defense on January 12, 2013. Since his return to the UFC, he suffered back to back first round knockout losses to Jake Ellenberger at UFC 158 and Hector Lombard at UFC 166.

The Te Huna bout marked his return to the middleweight division. Te Huna himself was fighting in the middleweight division for the first time since dropping from the light heavyweight division. But the night belonged to Marquardt who made a triumphant return to the 185 lbs weight class.

Marquardt never gave the hometown crowd anything to cheer about as he circled around Te Huna from a distance with his push kicks. After Te Huna attempted a takedown, he was reversed and Marquardt moved to half guard and land vicious elbows from the top position.

The tough Kiwi was able to return to his feet but as he tried an inside trip, Marquardt reversed him in midair and Te Huna was mounted by the American again. Marquardt was able to secure a double wrist lock grip as Te Huna tried to escape. Marquardt then extended the arm and forced the tapout at the 4:34 mark of the first round.

Just Happened

Marquardt told Kenny Florian after the fight that the armbar “just happened” and that he “didn’t necessarily have a game plan of what to do and where to go.” Marquardt added that he just wanted “to mix things up.”

On his return to middleweight, he said that he “believed that God guided him into moving back to the middleweight division.” Marquardt admitted that “things didn’t work out for him” in the welterweight division and that the middleweight division is “where he belongs.”

Marquardt improved his record to 33-13-2 with 9 KOs and 16 submissions. Te Huna fell to 16-8 with 10 KOs and 3 submissions.

The Undercards

In the co-main event of the card, emerging heavyweights Soa Palelei and Jared Rosholt fought to a three round grinder. Palelei tried to surprise Rosholt by attempting several takedowns, but Rosholt’s wrestling background came through as he was able to counter everything that Palelei tried and take control of the bout.

It wasn’t impressive but Rosholt was able to land enough clean punches and knees to earn the nod of the judges. In the end, the former Oklahoma State Wrestler hammered out a unanimous decision win with a score of 30-27 across all the judges’ scorecards.

Rosholt improved to 11-1 with 3 KOs and 3 submissions. Palelei dropped to 21-4 with 17KOs and 4 submissions.

Earlier in the night, Submission expert Charles Oliveira defeated Japanese Hatsu Hioki in what could be one of the early contenders for Submission of the Year. Both men fought a very technical fight before Oliveira used a Peruvian Necktie submission after avoiding a choke attempt by Hioki. Hioki was forced to tap at the 4:32 mark of round two after he could not escape Oliveira’s submission hold. The Brazilian improved his record to 18-4-0-1 with 6 KOs and 11 submissions while Hioki slides to 27-8-2 with 4 KOs and 12 submissions.

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