Veteran Nate Marquardt is hoping that a return to a familiar weight class will prove the right tonic for his lagging career fortunes. After three consecutive losses, he’s headed back to the 185-pound weight class for a date against James Te Huna. The former UFC middleweight title challenger will battle the heavy-handed New Zealand native in the main event of Fight Night 43 in Auckland.
Marquardt is a seasoned veteran of 47 contests who finds himself in must-win territory this weekend. Marquardt has been on a downward spiral since producing a remarkable effort during a 2012 Strikeforce battle against Tyron Woodley. “The Great” blasted out Woodley in the fourth round to win the welterweight title, but lost the belt in his next fight against Tarec Saffiedine. Marquardt’s second Octagon stint has started in rocky fashion with first-round knockout losses in welterweight bouts against Hector Lombard and Jake Ellenberger. Another setback against Te Huna would clearly spell the end.
He’ll no doubt summon upon his vast experience in the hopes of spoiling the party for Te Huna, who is undoubtedly relishing the opportunity to headline a main event on his home soil. Marquardt has faced impressive competition during his previous 16 Octagon appearances, including fights against Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen, Yushin Okami, Demian Maia and Martin Kampmann. The 35 year old has produced 24 finishes by knockout or submission during a professional career that began back in 1999.
Te Huna also finds himself looking to rebound and make a favorable first impression as a middleweight. He elected to make the move down from the 205-pound ranks after suffering first-round losses to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Glover Teixeira. He possesses tremendous power and has 10 knockouts to his credit in 16 career victories. He’s gone 5-3 in his Octagon career and can open up some exciting future opportunities in the 185-pound ranks by producing an impressive effort against Marquardt.
It seems apparent that both Marquardt and Te Huna will be battling for their Octagon lives in this one. The winner will certainly get to fight another day, while the loser will likely face the chopping block. It’s a matchup that should produce an emphatic finish.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA writer for Rant Sports.