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UFC 109 Preview: Nate Marquardt vs. Chael Sonnen

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Nate "The Great" Marquardt has a unique blend of power, technique and athleticism that makes him a difficult matchup for anyone. Making his professional MMA debut at just 19 years of age, Nate quickly turned heads due to his ability and his strong work ethic. However, since joining Greg Jackson's team in New Mexico following a failed bid for the world middleweight championship, he's turned things up a notch. Marquardt has gone an outstanding 8-2 since joining the UFC back in 2005 and appears to be on the cusp of being granted another shot at the title. First, however, he'll need to pull out a victory on Saturday night against an opponent that can be very difficult to look impressive against. Nate Marquardt is 29-8-2 with seven wins coming by way of knockout and fifteen wins coming by way submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced so far in his career is 66.2%.

SBN coverage of UFC 109: Relentless

There aren't a lot of middleweights clamoring to face veteran fighter Chael Sonnen. For one thing, he's a tough guy to look good against. He effectively initiates a smothering style, scoring just enough from top position while on the ground to stay active and avoid many standups. His unorthodox standup approach can also be frustrating to opponents. Sonnen's two showings against PRIDE veteran Paulo Filho put him on the division's map in recent years. Since coming to the UFC he is 1-1 and is looking to take advantage of this unique opportunity on Saturday night to get a win against a well known, world class opponent on a big stage. Chael Sonnen is 23-10-1 with seven wins coming by way of knockout and three wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced so far in his career is 75.6%.

This is a huge opportunity for Marquardt to make his case for a rematch against Anderson Silva. Nate has paid his dues and will have to be considered to be strongly in the mix with a win here. The 30-year-old from Colorado will need to maintain enough distance to throw some combinations. When in the clinch or on the mat, Nate will need to stay patient but also not allow Sonnen to dictate the pace of the fight. My prediction: Nate Marquardt by TKO in the third.