The Ultimate Fighting Championship made its Kiwi debut on Saturday with UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt in Auckland, New Zealand.
The 10-bout fight card drew an audience of 8,098 to Vector Arena, amassing a gate of $1,00,040 NZD (which converts to just under $913,000 US), according to UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright, who announced the attendance at the post-fight press conference.
The fight card was headlined by home country fighter James Te Huna dropping down from light heavyweight to middleweight against Nate Marquardt, who is a former Strikeforce welterweight champion that made his return to 185 pounds in the bout.
Marquardt overcame an obvious size disadvantage and Te Huna’s home turf advantage, mostly dominating the fight, and eventually submitting the Kiwi with an armbar late in the opening round.
The victory ended a three-fight skid for Marquardt, and also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus of $50,000.
Wright also said at the post-fight press conference that there are plans to return to New Zealand, but was non-committal on exactly when that might be.