James Te Huna goes down in first round

20:49, Jun 28 2014
James Te Huna
James Te Huna left cheek shows the effects of his first round loss to Nate Marquardt.
James Te Huna and Nate Marquardt
James Te Huna and Nate Marquardt in action during their middleweight main bout.
James Te Huna and Nate Marquardt
Nate Marquardt lands a blow to the face of New Zealand's James Te Huna.
James Te Huna and Nate Marquardt
Nate Marquardt and James Te Huna grapple on the ground.
Robert Whittaker and Mike Rhodes
Australia's Robert Whittaker catches a punch to the face from Mike Rhodes.
Robert Whittaker and Mike Rhodes
Robert Whittaker catches Mike Rhodes with a kick to the body.
Gian Villante and Sean O'Connell
Gian Villante punches away at a bloodied Sean O'Connell's head.
Jared Rosholt and Soa Palelei
Jared Rosholt gets caught on the chin by a Soa Palelei left hook.
Richie Vaculik and Roldan Sangcha-an
Australia's Richie Vaculik attempts to force Roldan Sangcha-an to tap out with a submission hold.
Gian Villante and Sean O'Connell
Gian Villante strikes Sean O'Connell in the head with his foot.
Robert Whittaker and Mike Rhodes
Aussie Robert Whittaker takes down opponent Mike Rhodes.
Vik Grujic
Australia's Vik Grujic in action in his welterweight victory over Chris Indich.
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James Te Huna during his fight against Nate Marquardt in the Middleweight Main Card bout at the UFC Fight Night held at Vector Arena, Auckland, New Zealand.
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James Te Huna during his fight against Nate Marquardt in the Middleweight Main Card bout at the UFC Fight Night held at Vector Arena, Auckland, New Zealand.
28-AKL-UFC07.jpg
Australia's Richie Vaculik gets his opponent Roldan Sangcha-an in a head lock during the Flyweight Bout at the UFC Fight Night held at Vector Arena, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Australia's Jake Matthews celebrates winning the Lightweight Bout against Dashon Johnson at the UFC Fight Night held at Vector Arena, Auckland, New Zealand

James Te Huna’s UFC career hangs in the balance after a devastating first round loss in Auckland tonight.

In New Zealand’s inaugural event at Vector Arena, Nate Marquardt proved too crafty for the local favourite. The veteran 

American had the Kiwi in trouble from the opening bell and finished the fight with an arm bar submission.

BEATEN: NZ fighter James Te Huna looks on after suffering a first round loss in the UFC main event at Vector Arena in Auckland tonight.
BEATEN: NZ fighter James Te Huna looks on after suffering a first round loss in the UFC main event at Vector Arena in Auckland tonight.

Coming off two losses, Te Huna dropped to middleweight to revive his career and was given the chance to make a statement as the main event on home soil.

The 32-year-old came out to rousing haka reception and Prince Tui Teka’s Poi-E theme song, but his performance failed to live up to the hype.

His eighth loss, and third in a row, will leave him soul searching as to where to next.

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Comparatively, Daniel Hooker couldn’t have wished for a better UFC debut.

The Auckland featherweight extended his overall win streak to six with an impressive first round stoppage of Englishman Ian Entwistle. Hooker was caught in a leg lock early but kept his composure on the sport’s biggest stage.

With a relentless flurry of furious elbows, Hooker split open Entwistle’s head and then went for the kill. The TKO was sealed after just three-and-a-half minutes.

‘‘Our city baby. Auckland, New Zealand,’’ an enthusiastic Hooker said in celebration of his debut win on home soil.

‘‘That’s being a warrior. That’s what Kiwis are. All the hard work New Zealanders have been putting in… I get to show how good we are.’’

New Zealand-born Robert Whittaker continued Hooker’s success with a unanimous win over American Michael Rhodes.

Australian-based welterweight Whittaker, who consistently found his range, had Rhodes bleeding from the nose in the final round after being the aggressor throughout.

‘‘It’s an incredible feeling,’’ Whittaker said. ‘‘I always like striking and keeping it a standing match, especially in my home town. I want to keep going forward and keep building momentum.’’

Samoan heavyweight Soa Palelei had his 11 fight win streak ended in underwhelming fashion. Three-time American wrestling champion Jared Rosholt ensured the fight stayed on the floor – a tactic which left Palelei shattered.

Brazilian featherweight Charles Oliveira won a similar ground war over Hatsu Hioki, forcing the Japanese grappler to submit.

At just 19-years-old, the future seems incredibly bright for Australian light heavyweight Jake Mathews.

In his octagon debut Mathews showcased a wide range of skills to force a third-round submission from Dashon Johnson, a previously 9-0 American.

Johnson took immense punishment in the first round alone. He copped a series of vicious elbows early and was deducted one point for elbowing the back of the head. Mathews finished the fight with a clinical triangle choke hold, a manoeuvre that summed up his dominant display.

Fellow Australian, flyweight Richie Vaculik, grabbed his first UFC win and ended Roldan Sangcha-an four-fight undefeated run with a unanimous decision victory.

Sangcha-an, from the Philippines, survived a choke hold in the first round and showed an array of kicks from the outside, but struggled to counter Vaculik’s favoured grappling and copped two solid right hands in the final round, which must have impressed the judges.

American Neil Magny stopped Brazilian Rodrigo de Lima after recovering from a poor first round to finish the job early in the second.

Vik Grujic won a brutal battle with fellow Australian Chris Indich and improved his record to 7-3.

And in the opening all-American light heavyweight brawl, Gian Villante upset Sean O’Connell. Despite being rocked with a left hand in the second round, Villante secured a split decision win with two judges scoring 29-28 in his favour. 

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