Te Huna wins in UFC, but entrance steals show

DANIEL SANKEY
Last updated 11:13 19/02/2013

Kiwi UFC fighter James Te Huna continued his rise up the light heavyweight rankings with a superb comeback victory in London yesterday, but it was his pre-fight entrance that had fans all over the world talking.

Te Huna (16 wins, 5 losses) and his cornermen belied their tough guy images by performing a choreographed Men In Black tribute dance as they entered a packed Wembley Arena for Te Huna's fight against hard-hitting Canadian Ryan Jimmo.

It was a brave move by Te Huna, given UFC president Dana White's noted dislike of flashy walk-outs - but the crowd of 10,349 fans left no doubt as to their thoughts, with Te Huna getting a massive ovation as he danced his way to the Octagon.

Te Huna, who resides and trains in Penrith but originally hails from New Zealand, made a pointed reference to New Zealand's national rugby union team, the All Blacks, when he tweeted later that "the good guys dress in black, remember that".

"We just come out and tried to break it up and have some fun before the battle, and it worked! Everyone loved it, we all had fun ... it was great," Te Huna said after the fight.

But it seemed the walkout was doomed to backfire in the first round, with Te Huna barely surviving a brutal Jimmo head kick that sent him crashing to the canvas. Jimmo was quick to mount, unleashing crushing punches and elbows, but Te Huna defended grimly and managed to survive the round.


But it seemed the walkout was doomed to backfire in the first round, with Te Huna barely surviving a brutal Jimmo head kick that sent him crashing to the canvas. Jimmo was quick to mount, unleashing crushing punches and elbows, but Te Huna defended grimly and managed to survive the round.

The second and third rounds were a completely different story as Te Huna's superior wrestling and grappling proved too much for a tiring Jimmo - Te Huna winning a unanimous points decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28).

"To be honest, I can't even remember how I got on my back (in the first round)," Te Huna said.

"I asked my coach how I got on my back ... I thought he took me down. It wasn't a takedown - he threw a headkick at me and I copped it sweet, and ended up on my back.

"I was that close to being finished and managed to survive."

It was an important victory for Te Huna, whose only loss in six fights in the UFC has come at the hands of light heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson (ranked number three in the UFC). 

There was little in the betting between the two, with Jimmo coming into the bout on a 17-fight win streak that included a knock-out of the night victory over Australia's Anthony Perosh - a victory that came just seven seconds into the first round, tying the UFC record for the fastest-ever knock-out.

"You know, I've just put in a lot of hours and hard work in the gym. I've been in that position before, I've been hurt, but I just come out and tried to stay on top and stay dominant. Eventually he started wearing down a bit and gassing a bit, and that's when I took advantage," Te Huna said.

"I definitely want a top 10 guy [next]. No one in particular, just give me a top 10 guy and I'll be happy."

Potential opponents for Te Huna in his next fight could include the likes of former NCAA division one wrestler Phil Davis (ranked number eight in the UFC), The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Ryan Bader (number 9) or even former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (number seven).

In other fights on the London card, Renan Barao retained the UFC interim bantamweight title with a submission (arm-triangle) victory over Michael McDonald, while Cub Swanson defeated Dustin Poirier via unanimous decision in a bout between the UFC's number six and seven-ranked featherweights, respectively.

- The Age

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