Announced midday Monday June 11, fan favorite Joey Beltran was offered a second shot at a run in the UFC with a match up against fellow striker James Te Huna. This will be Beltran’s first fight back since his release following his first professional loss via knockout in January earlier this year which added up to a two fight losing streak, but will be coming off a victorious debut at Light Heavyweight coming into this fight. Te Huna will be fighting for the first time since March when he racked up an impressive victory via TKO which added to a two fight win streak via form of (T)KO. This will be Beltran’s first fight in the UFC at Light Heavyweight.
Beltran entered the UFC relatively unknown and seen as a big underdog as he was a late replacement brought in to face Rolles Gracie of the famed Gracie clan that created Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Beltran fought Gracie at UFC 109 in February 2010 where he bested him in Rnd1 as Gracie looked visibly fatigued. With Gracie hardly able to stand clearly out of energy Beltran got him to the ground where he earned a quick Rnd2 TKO finish for his promotional debut. He next followed up that win with a Unanimous Decision over returning veteran Tim Hague at UFC 113. After racking up two straight wins in the promotion, Beltran would drop two straight each via Unanimous Decision against more diverse strikers in Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry. He would snap the losing streak with a Rnd3 TKO over Aaron Rosa in what was a back and forth exchange between the two for much of the fight. Unfortunately he suffered a second losing streak first with a Unanimous Decision loss to undefeated newcomer Stipe Miocic and suffering his first loss via KO being finished in Rnd1 by former Strikeforce standout Lavar Johnson at UFC On FOX 2. Now 3-4 Beltran was released from the promotion and immediately following the loss to Johnson he decided to officially drop down to Light Heavyweight. Considered one of the smaller competitors in the Heavyweight division, Beltran knew he was outsized against much of the bigger competition scattered throughout the weight class. Committing to the weight cut Beltran debuted at Light Heavyweight in April where he picked up a Unanimous Decision victory in a minor league promotion. Now given a second chance in the UFC and matched against an opponent who prefers to stay standing looking for the knockout, this could be Beltran’s chance to make a statement as he reinvents himself in a new weight class.
A hard hitting native of New Zealand who trains out of Australia, James Te Huna is one competitor who is making his way as a breakout star in the UFC. Entering the UFC in February 2010 Te Huna was 11-4 professionally coming off a Rnd1 KO over veteran Anthony Perosh to win the CFC Light Heavyweight title and also added to his seven victories via (T)KO. Te Huna debuted against hard hitting Croatian wrestler Igor Pokrajac and added another finish to his record as he earned the victory in his debut with a Rnd3 TKO at UFC 110 in the promotions debut event in Australia. Unfortunately Te Huna would suffer a minor setback as he suffered a Rnd1 Submission loss to rising star Alexander Gustafsson in the promotion’s second trip to Australia at UFC 127, but showed heart for his homeland as he donated his fight purse to the victims of the Christchurch Earthquake in his native New Zealand which the UFC matched showing their support. Rebounding from his first loss since 2007 Te Huna reintroduced his power with two straight victories via stoppage including a Rnd1 KO over Ricardo Romero and most recently a Rnd1 TKO over Aaron Rosa. Te Huna was next slated to originally fight Brandon Vera on this card, but Vera was pulled from the bout to instead take on Mauricio Rua in the main event for UFC On FOX 4. Now facing Beltran who is known as a heavy hitting brawler who continuously moves forward and one that is willing to go down swinging, Te Huna will have his chance to showcase his striking yet again and hopes to dish out a third straight finish in a row in what could turn into an exciting exchange.
Written by @MMAFanHQ