Good morning, and welcome to another installment of WHY THE HELL IS THE UFC ON AT 5:00AM? In case you’re joining us late, there’s an event – UFC Fight Night 43 – going on in New Zealand, which, thanks to the joys of technology and UFC Fight Pass, we get to watch here in the States at an hour that is both ungodly and unholy.

Keep hitting “refresh” for updates, and thank you for coming on board.

Prelim card results:

  • Gian Villante def. Sean O’Connell via Split Decision
  • Daniel Hooker def. Ian Entwistle via TKO (Elbows) at 3:34, R1
  • Neil Magny def. Rodrigo Goiana de Lima via TKO (Punches) at 2:32, R2
  • Vik Grujic def. Chris Indich via TKO (Punches) at 4:55, R1
  • Richie Vaculik def. Roldan Sangcha-an via Unanimous Decision
  • Jake Matthews def. Dashon Johnson via Submission (Triangle Choke) at 3:16, R3

Main card results:

-Robert Whittaker vs. Mike Rhodes

Round 1: No time is wasted for a feeling-out process, as these two come forward, stand about two feet away from each other, and start probing with jabs, crosses and kicks. Whittaker begins to land more and more by the midway point of the round – his timing and counter-punching enabling him to test Rhodes’ chin – but when the round ends they’re still probing and dancing.

Round 2: Again Whittaker lands with the counters, so Rhodes turns to takedown attempts to get his foe thinking. Whittaker, who won TUF: Smashies, is adept at remaining on his feet, but for a minute he’s forced to adjust. He does, and with the addition of feints, double-jabs and a variety of kicks from different angles, he does some serious work chipping away at the American.

Round 3: Rhodes is still in it, and finds success throwing combinations, but Whittaker starts throwing elbows and scores a takedown at the two-minute mark, and Rhodes is suddenly an exhausted and bloody dude struggling to get vertical. He can’t, and a referee stand-up with ten seconds in the round does nothing in terms of changing their respective fortunes.

Result: Robert Whittaker def. Mike Rhodes via Unanimous Decision

-Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles Oliveira

Round 1: Oliveira immediately starts reaching for takedowns, and Hioki briefly threatens with a flying triangle attempt. The Brazilian turns the tables with a jumping arm-in guillotine attempt. Hioki escapes, gets thrown to the canvas, and shimmies out to take Oliveira’s back. Oliveira deftly slips away and gets back to his feet. Two close D’Arce attempts, some sweet reversals and takedowns and one thing is clear: these guys are high-level jiu-jitsu players in a tight chess match.

Round 2: The throw a minimal amount of leather before once again tying up, and immediately Hioki gets a takedown and Oliveira counters with a heelhook attempt. Unfortunately, when they start to return to their feet Hioki accidentally pokes his opponent in the eye, so there’s a brief break for the doc to check on the Brazilian. They resume, throw punches, and Hioki again gets the takedown and must battle through Oliveira’s ultra-dangerous guard. In an amazing sequence, Hioki takes Oliveira’s back, and when Oliveira escapes he falls back into what seems to be a Peruvian Necktie/guillotine hybrid. Hioki taps out.

Result: Charles Oliveira def. Hatsu Hioki via Submission (Choke) at 4:32, R2

-Sao Palelei vs. Jared Rosholt

Round 1: It takes them a full 30 seconds before they even lay hands on each other, and when they do, it’s all about Palelei shooting for takedowns and Rosholt struggling to remain upright. The American manages to reverse the momentum and presses the Australian against the cage. Soon Palelei is turtled and absorbing knees to the body, while Rosholt does the wrestler’s ride to make him feel his weight. In the last ten seconds Palelei reverses and drops short punches from the mount, but no one gets finished.

Round 2: They come out slugging in Round 2, and Rosholt catches Palelei in the first 45 seconds, forcing the Aussie to go down and turtle. He recovers though, and once more they’re standing against the fence vying for wrist control while huffing and puffing. The period ends with two very out of breath men trying to throw punches and looking ugly.

Round 3: Rosholt gets the takedown and resumes the wrestler-ride festival, forcing Palelei to roll to his back and work from the bottom. He almost manages to reverse with a takedown of his own, but Rosholt sprawls, and they rinse and repeat. The round ends with Rosholt coming nowhere near to ending things, and Palelei coming nowhere near catching his breath.

Result: Jared Rosholt def. Sao Palelei via Unanimous Decision

-Nate Marquardt vs. James Te Huna

Round 1: Marquardt needs about two seconds before he starts landing right hands and kicks, and when Te Huna lumbers forward, the American cracks him with a knee to the chin that drops him. The Kiwi recovers only to find himself bloody and trying to survive with Marquardt in his half-guard. They do eventually work back to their feet, and with Marquardt pressed against the fence, it’s Te Huna’s turn to dish out the pain via a series of hard uppercuts. Marquardt gets the takedown and slides into mount, and when Te Huna slips out the back to escape, BOOM goes the armbar. Te Huna taps out.

Result: Nate Marquardt def. James Te Huna via Submission (Armbar) at 4:34, R1