411's MMA Roundtable Preview - UFC Fight Nights 43 & 44
Posted by Dan Plunkett on 06.27.2014
Cub Swanson fights Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 44 while James Te Huna faces Nate Marquardt at UFC Fight Night 43 this weekend! Check out the full roundtable for all the details and join 411 for LIVE coverage of the events on Saturday!
Another UFC double header is upon us! First, the Octagon is in New Zealand as Nate Marquardt fights James Te Huna. Then in San Antonio, Cub Swanson looks to move one step closer to a title shot when he faces Jeremy Stephens! Let's meet the staff and get to the picks!
Your esteemed host of 411's MMA Fact or Fiction, Wyatt Beougher!
From MMA's 3R's, Jeffrey Harris!
From Five Quick Rounds, Evan Zivin!
From the Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report, Robert Winfree!
UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt
THE PRELIMINARY CARD:
All bouts stream live on UFC Fight Pass.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Gian Villante vs. Sean O'Connell
Wyatt Beougher: Villante, TKO, Round 2 Evan Zivin: Gian Villante, TKO, Round 3 Jeffrey Harris: Gian Villante, Decision Robert Winfree: Gian Villante, Decision The staff picks Gian Villante, 4-0.
Featherweight Bout: Dan Hooker vs. Ian Entwistle
Wyatt Beougher: Hooker, Submission, Round 2 Evan Zivin: Ian Entwistle, Submission, Round 1 Jeffrey Harris: Ian Entwistle, Submission, Round 1 Robert Winfree: Dan Hooker, Decision The staff picks a draw, 2-2.
Welterweight Bout: Neil Magny vs. Rodrigo Goiana de Lima
Wyatt Beougher: Magny, TKO, Round 1 Evan Zivin: Neil Magny, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Neil Magny, Decision Robert Winfree: Neil Magny, Decision The staff picks Neil Magny, 4-0.
Welterweight Bout: Chris Indich vs. Vik Grujic
Wyatt Beougher: Indich, Decision Evan Zivin: Chris Indich, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Chris Indich, Decision Robert Winfree: Vik Grujic, TKO Round 2 The staff picks Chris Indich, 3-1.
Flyweight Bout: Richie Vaculik vs. Roldan Sangcha-an
Lightweight Bout: Jake Matthews vs. Dashon Johnson
Wyatt Beougher: Johnson, Decision Evan Zivin: Jake Matthews, Submission, Round 1 Jeffrey Harris: Jake Matthews, Decision Robert Winfree: Dashon Johnson, TKO Round 3 The staff picks a draw, 2-2.
THE MAIN CARD:
Welterweight Bout: Robert Whittaker vs. Mike Rhodes
Wyatt Beougher: Mike Rhodes, Decision Evan Zivin: Robert Whittaker, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Robert Whittaker, TKO, Round 1 Robert Winfree: Robert Whittaker, TKO Round 2 The staff picks Robert Whittaker, 3-1.
Featherweight Bout: Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles Oliveira
Wyatt Beougher: Charles Oliveira, Decision Evan Zivin: Hatsu Hioki, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Charles Oliveira, Submission, Round 2 Robert Winfree: Hatsu Hioki, Decision The staff picks a draw, 2-2.
Heavyweight Bout: Soa Palelei vs. Jared Rosholt
Wyatt Beougher: Soa Palelei, HULK SMASH, Round 1 Evan Zivin: Soa Palelei, TKO, Round 2 Jeffrey Harris: Jared Rosholt, Decision Robert Winfree: Soa Palelei, TKO Round 1 The staff picks Soa Palelei, 3-1.
Middleweight Bout: James Te Huna vs. Nate Marquardt
Wyatt Beougher: Two guys looking to rejuvenate their careers at middleweight, with Te Huna trying to rebound from back-to-back losses to Glover Teixeira and Mauricio Rua at light heavyweight and Marquardt looking to go back to middleweight after welterweight losses to Tarec Saffiedine, Jake Ellenberger, and Hector Lombard. On the one hand, Te Huna is fighting in his home country for the first time in his professional career, but on the other hand, Marquardt is saying that God told him to move back up to middleweight, so I guess that's a push. Both guys are in their thirties, so I'm sure the motivation and urgency are there, but they're both fighting for their jobs, so I'm having a hard time giving either fighter the edge there. Te Huna's a brawler and I think he's going to want to turn this into a slugfest, but his defense isn't impeccable and Marquardt could capitalize on that like he did against Maia. And Marquardt has a clear edge in grappling, with the majority of his wins coming via submission, while five of Te Huna's seven losses have come as a result of submission. It's that edge in a fight that seems relatively even otherwise, that makes me pick Marquardt in this one.
Winner: Nate Marquardt, Submission, Round 2
Evan Zivin: This has got to be one of the most irrelevant main events the UFC has given us. Obviously, we're getting Te Huna in a big fight because the show is happening in New Zealand but both men are coming into this on losing streaks and are debuting or returning to middleweight to save their jobs. These guys couldn't be further from title contention and one may get cut if the fight ends up being particularly boring. I hope it won't. Both guys are strikers with good finishing rates so hopefully we get a violent knockout, which both men are as capable of giving as receiving. As for a winner? Both guys are bad in high pressure situations but I don't think Nate has anything left at this point in his career so I'll pick James.
Winner: James Te Huna, TKO, Round 3
Jeffrey Harris: This is hardly the most irrelevant main event UFC has ever put together. This is a Fight Night card, not a PPV. There have been plenty of Fight Night cards with main events that had guys that were not really in title contention or suffered recent losses. Either of these guys could easily find themselves out of the UFC with a loss. However, both tend to be exciting strikers, so that could make for a fun main event. Te Huna makes his debut at middleweight here after getting submitted by Glover Teixeira and knocked out by Shogun at light heavyweight. Nate Marquardt for his part was knocked out by Jake Ellenberger and then Hector Lombard at welterweight, so now he returns to middleweight. So one guy is moving down a weight class, and the other guy is moving back up after having fought at 170. Te Huna will have a size advantage here, so hopefully he handles his weight cut well. I think Marquardt's chin is shot at this point and he doesn't have long left in the sport. Te Huna stops him with strikes at some point.
Winner: James Te Huna, TKO, Round 1
Robert Winfree: You know, for a Fight Pass main event you could do worse than these two. Marquardt is on a three fight losing streak but in two of those he was brutally finished in the first round so it could at least end quickly. Te Huna is on a two fight skid as well but again, both times he lost quickly in the first round. Both men are trying to inject some life into their careers by moving to middleweight, well back to middleweight in the case of Marquardt, and the other interesting bit here is that the loser could be cut depending on their performance here. We'll have to see if Te Huna loses some of his punching power with the cut, and we'll see if Marquardt can remember that he's only an effective fighter when he's moving forward. I'm leaning towards Te Huna, Marquardt can be put into a defensive mindset easily and Te Huna has good striking.
Winner: James Te Huna, TKO Round 1
The staff picks James Te Huna, 3-1.
UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Stephens
THE PRELIMINARY CARD:
First prelim streams on UFC Fight Pass. Remaining bouts on FS 1.
Heavyweight Bout: Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Anthony Hamilton
Wyatt Beougher: Borg, Assimilation, Round 2 Evan Zivin: Shane Howell, Submission, Round 2 Jeffrey Harris: Shane Howell, Decision Robert Winfree: Ray Borg, Decision The staff picks a draw, 2-2.
Middleweight Bout: Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Andy Enz
Wyatt Beougher: Enz, Submission, Round 1 Evan Zivin: Andy Enz, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Andy Enz, Decision Robert Winfree: Marcelo Guimaraes, Submission Round 2 The staff picks Andy Enz, 3-1.
Bantamweight Bout: Johnny Bedford vs. Cody Gibson
Wyatt Beougher: Gibson, Decision Evan Zivin: Johnny Bedford, TKO, Round 2 Jeffrey Harris: Johnny Bedford, TKO, Round 1 Robert Winfree: Johnny Bedford, TKO Round 2 The staff picks Johnny Bedford, 3-1.
Lightweight Bout: Colton Smith vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira
Wyatt Beougher: Ferreira, Submission, Round 3 Evan Zivin: Carlos Diego Ferreira, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Colton Smith, Decision Robert Winfree: Colton Smith, Submission Round 1 The staff picks a draw, 2-2.
THE MAIN CARD:
Lightweight Bout: Joe Ellenberger vs. James Moontasri
Wyatt Beougher: Joe Ellenberger, Decision Evan Zivin: Joe Ellenberger, TKO, Round 1 Jeffrey Harris: Joe Ellenberger, Decision Robert Winfree: Joe Ellenberger, Decision The staff picks Joe Ellenberger, 4-0.
Middleweight Bout: Clinton Hester vs. Antonio Braga Neto
Wyatt Beougher: Clint Hester, Decision Evan Zivin: Antonio Braga Neto, Submission, Round 3 Jeffrey Harris: Clint Hester, TKO, Round 2 Robert Winfree: Clinton Hester, TKO Round 1 The staff picks Clinton Hester, 3-1.
Featherweight Bout: Ricardo Lamas vs. Hacran Dias
Wyatt Beougher: Ricardo Lamas, Decision Evan Zivin: Ricardo Lamas, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Ricardo Lamas, TKO, Round 2 Robert Winfree: Ricardo Lamas, TKO Round 1 The staff picks Ricardo Lamas, 4-0.
Middleweight Bout: Cezar Ferreira vs. Andrew Craig
Wyatt Beougher: Andrew Craig, Decision Evan Zivin: Andrew Craig, TKO, Round 2 Jeffrey Harris: Andrew Craig, Decision Robert Winfree: Andrew Craig, TKO Round 2 The staff picks Andrew Craig, 4-0.
Welterweight Bout: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nicholas Musoke
Wyatt Beougher: Kelvin Gastelum, Decision Evan Zivin: Kelvin Gastelum, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Kelvin Gastelum, Submission, Round 2 Robert Winfree: Kelvin Gastelum, TKO Round 2 The staff picks Kelvin Gastelum, 4-0.
Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens
Wyatt Beougher: Whoever wins this fight is likely either one more win or a very fortuitous injury away from a featherweight title shot. Swanson and Stephens are both capable of winning on the feet, but where Stephens relies on his power, Swanson has better technique. And Stephens has arguably the better wrestling, but Swanson's submission game is no slouch. If Stephens can use the threat of his power to keep Swanson off-guard and take him down, he can win rounds and ultimately win the fight. However, Swanson is going to have plenty of opportunities to use his striking to keep Stephens on the outside and off-balance, which should make it easier for him to either prevent or defend takedowns. Ultimately, I'm giving the edge to Swanson here, as I think Stephens manages to take two of the first three rounds, only for Swanson to catch him coming in for a takedown later in the fight.
Winner: Cub Swanson, TKO, Round 5
Evan Zivin: This is a much better fight, not just in relevance but in the potential for violence. Stephens has looked great since dropping to featherweight, knocking out Rony Jason and dominating Darren Elkins, while Swanson has won 5 in a row with 4 stoppages. Both men have dominated at 145 so who will dominate here? It's going to be Swanson. He's been fighting and succeeding against a higher level of competition than Stephens and his striking style is much more technical than Stephens, who is more of a brawler. Cub will pick his shots, move in and out at angles, and blast Stephens continuously until he goes down. Then we'll hopefully get to see if Cub can last longer than 8 seconds against Aldo. Oh boy!
Winner: Cub Swanson, TKO, Round 1
Jeffrey Harris: This is a great and very underrated, overlooked fight for TV. With a win here, either guy could easily be fighting for the featherweight title next; depending on how things work out of course. Stephens has actually looked really good and dominant since he moved down to featherweight. In his last fight, he handled Darren Elkins and showed much improved takedown defense. However, Cub Swanson has also been on an incredible tear at featherweight in the UFC. He's looked like a far cry from his days when he got double kneed by Jose Aldo and submitted by Jens Pulver in the WEC. The only thing that concerns me with this fight is that Swanson has been a little less active as of late than Stephens. Swanson hasn't fought in almost a year. However, I still think Swanson wins this fight. He's beaten tough opponents who moved down from lightweight before in Dennis Siver and Ross Pearson. Swanson also has some impressive, dynamic striking. He uses angles very well. I think he will use that to overwhelm Stephens and eventually catch him.
Winner: Cub Swanson, TKO, Round 3
Robert Winfree: This is a fun fight, both guys are knocking on the door of title contention and in the case of Swanson he's likely the number one contender with a win here. Stephens has wicked power in his hands, but Swanson has been improving his footwork and overall movement and has decent power in his own right. I think Swanson overwhelms Stephens with volume striking and movement, then on to a title shot barring some shenanigans with the upcoming Aldo vs. Mendes fight.
Winner: Cub Swanson, TKO Round 2
The staff picks Cub Swanson, 4-0.
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