As a fight on a main card of any pay-per-view or as the main event of a UFC Fight Night, the UFC 122 bout between Nate Marquardt and Yushin Okami would be a clash worth looking forward to. However, as the main event of a numbered UFC show, it, in a way, stings. Still, the winner likely will get a crack at the middleweight title, so this is a fight worth watching. Here is MMA For Real's preview of the fight:
Record: 30-9-2 overall, 9-3-0 UFC
How he got here: A three-time King of Pancrase, Nate Marquardt has been a perennial contender for the UFC middleweight championship since his arrival in the organization in August 2005. A boring fight and a steroid test failure set him back, but Marquardt won his first four UFC fights to earn a shot at Anderson Silva's middleweight title. Many people liked Marquardt to win, but he was TKO'd late in the first round by Silva. Marquardt rebounded with five straight impressive performances (going 4-1), becoming a different, more exciting fighter than previously seen. Then he ran into Chael Sonnen at UFC 109. With a title shot on the line, Sonnen dominated Marquardt for three rounds to win a decision. Marquardt bounced Rousimar Palhares in September and steps in here to fight Okami after Vitor Belfort was lifted from the fight to receive a title shot.
How he gets it done: The 31-year old Marquardt has great skills both standing and on the ground. Since losing to SIlva, Marquardt has stepped on the gas. In his five wins since, four have come by KO or TKO with the other coming by submission. Of Marquardt's 30 career wins, eight have come by KO or TKO, 15 by submission and seven by decision. Marquardt has also been a durable fighter, as he has only been stopped by strikes once in his career. He's lost six fights by decision and the other two have been by submission.
Did you know?: In addition to being a three-time King of Pancrase, Marquardt was the first King of Pancrase, beating Shonie Carter in 2000 for the crown.
Record: 25-5-0 overall, 9-2 UFC
Key wins: Anderson Silva (ROTR 8), Mike Swick (UFC 69), Mark Munoz (UFC on Versus 2)
Key losses: Jake Shields (ROTR 9), Rich Franklin (UFC 72), Chael Sonnen (UFC 104)
How he got here: If there's a fighter who's had as many wins as Yushin Okami has in the UFC and never received a title shot, I'd like to know who. But for the stifling Okami, his two losses have come at bad times. Okami lost a decision against Rich Franklin after dominating his first four UFC fights. Then, after winning three straight, he lost a decision to Chael Sonnen. Since, Okami has won two straight, stopping Lucio Linhares and taking a decision against Mark Munoz. A third win likely earns him a title shot. Seven of Okami's 11 UFC fights have been preliminary bouts.
How he gets it done: The last line of the previous section is very important here. The reason seven of Okami's 11 UFC fights have been prelims is because seven of his 11 UFC fights have gone to decision, many being the grinding variety. Of his 25 wins, 11 have been by decision, nine by KO/TKO, four by submission (two due to punches, one to injury) and one by disqualification. Okami's style has not done him any favors whatsoever when considering the next title shot candidate. Okami has only been finished once in his career, and that was seven years ago by TKO.
Did you know?: Okami will have fought in six countries (Japan, South Korea, United States, Northern Ireland, Germany) when he fights Marquardt.
Bottom line: Marquardt did not respond well to facing a wrestler against Sonnen, but Okami is not Sonnen in the wrestling department. On the feet, the power advantage lies with Marquardt and they'll probably cancel each other out on the ground. Both these fighters are extremely tough and this is a well-matched fight. I think Marquardt will do more damage and earn a title shot with a unanimous decision victory.
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