Buckle up ... this is going to be one hell of a trip.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brings its mixed martial arts (MMA) spectacle to Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, for UFC Fight Night 43: "Te Huna vs. Marquardt."
In one of the oddest booking decisions in recent memory, James Te Huna will be locking horns against Nate Marquardt in the main event, despite their active losing streaks. "The Great" hasn't won since he captured the Strikeforce welterweight title in mid-2012.
Meanwhile, Te Huna has been finished twice in his last two outings.
Also on the main card, heavyweight Jared Rosholt battles Soa Palelei in the co-main event, while Hatsu Hioki takes on Charles Oliveira in an interesting featherweight scrap. Commencing the action on Fight Pass will be Robert Whittaker vs. Mike Rhodes at welterweight.
With several interesting storylines emerging from this card, check out our "Five Burning Questions" heading into these fights in New Zealand:
5. How many fans will be watching this card?
Excluding the Australians and New Zealanders, the time slot is quite difficult to deal with on the west side of the world. Europeans are treated to a matinee if they decide to tune in; however, the fan base in North and South America may be skipping this event altogether.
There isn't quality promotion for this card, either, and honestly, why would there be?
Some UFC fanatics probably don't even know there are fights this weekend that you could only watch online through a subscription service. Those on the west coast of the United States and Canada could be enticed to pull an all-nighter or come back from the club with an excuse to keep drinking, but east coast enthusiasts have to be prepared to tough it out as of 2 a.m. ET.
Who said being an MMA fan on the east coast was easy, anyway?
4. Why are the "Prelims" so thin?
I'm not trying to increase the negativity that surrounds this fight card, but the set of preliminary fights in New Zealand could be the worst installment we've ever seen.
It's understandable the organization would like to pack it up with hometown fighters and combatants that would appeal to where the event is taking place.
The most popular fighter on the entire undercard is Neil Magny, and though it's clear guys like Chris Indich and Vik Grujic are being used close to home after their stints on The Ultimate Fighter: "Nations," there desperately needs to be one more star attraction or a fighter most fans know in the back of their mind.
A main event between Dashon Johnson vs. Jake Matthews is certainly not going to do it for everyone, but with our luck, maybe all these fights will be finished before the end of the third round.
3. Should we already be giving the "Fight of The Night" bonus money to Hatsu Hioki and Charles Oliveira?
Hopefully, this fight isn't going to be a snoozer, since it's the most intriguing battle on the entire card.
You never know what you're going to get when both of these scrappers compete, since Hioki hasn't joined the UFC "mix" since his arrival, going 3-3 in his six Octagon fights.
The Brazilian was once touted as the future of the lightweight division before running into the likes of Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone, who both put him in his place fast. He's struggled with weight in the 145-pound class, yet it seems like a wiser move. He's currently 3-2 at featherweight, including his brutal loss against Cub Swanson, which was contested at a catchweight of 146.4 pounds.
Their backs aren't up against the wall, but both fighters can't afford going 1-3 in their last four bouts with a loss (the Japanese combatant would be 1-4 if he fails to win). If all goes well, we should be treated to a war, which could be hard to come by when looking at the other fights on the card.
2. Can Jared Rosholt be a feature heavyweight in the future?
Technically he already is, if you consider his place on the main card.
Rosholt has escaped the "Prelims" and finds himself in one of the headlining fights in Auckland this weekend. The winningest heavyweight in the history of the Oklahoma State wrestling program has already made his presence felt in MMA, mustering up a record of 10-1. His only loss was against Derrick Lewis -- another prospect at 265 pounds -- two years ago for the Legacy FC heavyweight championship.
"The Big Show" will have his heavy hands full against Soa Palelei, who will undoubtedly have the home crowd behind him, yet if the younger Rosholt brother can defeat his opponent in impressive fashion, he lends a helping hand to a division that has always been a little too thin for the liking.
Acquiring a few finishes in the Octagon would help his case, too.
1. Why is the main event James Te Huna vs. Nate Marquardt?
It's one thing to have Te Huna on the main card since he's from New Zealand, but featuring him in the main event against Marquardt is downright criminal.
Not only are these two fighters a combined 0-5 in their last five outings, a loss could see them go from being a headliner to the unemployment line. But UFC is also mysterious in that regard, since they'll cut someone like Jake Shields after one loss, but give Paulo Thiago a new contract.
This contest is worthy of being somewhere else, but not as the main attraction. I get this is a Fight Pass card; however, it's not going to help future subscriptions.
If the buy rate rumors surrounding UFC 174 are true (under 100,000), it means the company will have to step up its game by stacking up the events and not lie about it to us, either. Since the promotion feels the need to hire every fighter and their mother walking the planet today, events aren't what they used to be.
But in terms of a digital network, main events like the one mentioned above could be here to stay.
And that's an awful feeling.
Check out the finalized card for UFC Fight Night 43: "Te Huna vs. Marquardt," including set times and bout order, right here.