The UFC’s first trip to New Zealand has its first fight.

Sources close to the event have informed The MMA Corner that New Zealand native James Te Huna will make his middleweight debut against former Strikeforce champion and UFC title challenger Nate Marquardt.  The bout is expected to serve as the headliner for the event.

Both men are coming off back-to-back losses inside the Octagon, with all four of the respective fights being finished in the first round. 

The bout will mark the first time that Te Huna has competed in mixed martial arts on New Zealand soil. The 32-year-old has compiled a 5-3 record in the UFC, including a four-fight winning streak that was snapped by his current skid. The fighter announced that he was dropping to 185 pounds earlier this year after he suffered losses to Glover Teixeira and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

Marquardt, meanwhile, will return to the middleweight division for the first time since 2011. The Colorado-based fighter enters the fight having succumbed to knockouts against Hector Lombard and Jake Ellenberger while competing at welterweight. Those losses followed a unanimous decision loss to Tarec Saffiedine under the Strikeforce banner, where Marquardt relinquished his title.

UFC Director of Operations for Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Tom Wright, is expected to confirm the bout, as well as the rest of the event details on New Zealand radio at approximately 8 a.m. local time. The event is set to take place in Auckland on June 28. The event is expected to air on the promotion’s digital network, UFC Fight Pass.

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.