UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on March 7, 2011, 4:05 AM
UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami
-On paper this was the weakest numbered UFC since well, off the top of my head, probably UFC 55 back in 2005 which is wild. I mean seriously now, Peter Sobotta with his 0-2 UFC record two matches from the top? Andre Winner and Dennis Siver in the semi-main? Well, you can sort of excuse that one when you consider the proper semi-main got scrapped after the weigh-in...but even that was Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara! I mean sure, the show was free on Spike so nobody was paying for it anyway, but still. Hopefully the WEC merger should eliminate cards like this altogether this year.
After he lost the TUF 11 finals to Court McGee I immediately said McCray would need to drop to 170lbs to survive in the UFC, and I guess he (or his coaches) thought the same so here you go. Opponent Rocha sounded very dangerous though, 8-0 with a bunch of different submissions, although they were all against sub-par German opposition and history has taught me that you never can tell with the random Brazilian prospects that Joe Silva brings in – either they tend to be KILLERS or pretty awful.
Video package prior to this fight makes me inexplicably angry. Did I ever mention that I HATE McCray’s ridiculous ‘Savage’ gimmick? Fight begins and they throw a few strikes before McCray gets a takedown to half-guard. Rocha immediately sweeps him and gets to side mount. That was nice. McCray turns though and escapes to his feet. Rocha clinches and McCray takes him down again. You’d have thought after being swept in like two seconds he’d want to avoid the ground. Side mount from McCray and he takes the back with one hook as Rocha looks to escape. Both hooks in for McCray but he loses the left one and Rocha rolls for a leglock. McCray tries to punch him rather than defend the leg though, and the Brazilian locks up a TIGHT KNEEBAR to force the tapout.
Well, I love kneebars and that was no exception, beautiful stuff. McCray just chose to fuck around with the wrong guy on the mat there and paid the price. Definitely excited to see Rocha again, that’s for sure.
Another guy dropping a weight class on this card was the Czech Republic’s Vemola, who had been smothered by Jon Madsen in an awful fight earlier in 2010. Good move for him as he looked tiny for a HW but looks JACKED at 205lbs. I was really hoping Petruzelli could finally get that elusive UFC win though, as he’d looked pretty awesome against Ricardo Romero until he gassed out in the second round.
First round begins and Vemola pushes forward right away, but he eats a right hand as his striking looks really stiff. Another bull-rush follows and this time he manages to slam Seth down to the ground. Seth gets full guard and defends some punches before pushing off and escaping to his feet. Vemola comes in swinging again and then catches a kick and delivers another slam. Triangle attempt from Seth but Vemola powers out and then stands over him, narrowly avoiding an upkick. He decides to drop into the guard and looks to land some ground-and-pound as Seth tries to answer from his back. Armbar attempt by Petruzelli and it’s close, but Vemola slips his arm free and they come to their feet with Vemola looking to take the back. He hops onto the back in the lemur position, and Seth decides to drop to the ground in guard to avoid the choke. Seth looks to roll for an arm again, but this time Vemola gets through with some good shots and begins to flurry, causing Seth to cover up a bit. BIG right hand looks to have Seth hurt and he turns to his side and Vemola pounds on him for the stoppage. Replay shows the right looked to have smashed Seth’s nose up.
Impressive win for Vemola but I can’t see him going that far at 205lbs as he just isn’t going to be able to throw around guys like Ryan Bader, Jon Jones, etc. Still, he at least earned a step up in competition with this win. Tough break for Seth but that’s how it goes in the UFC sometimes.
Kimmons was coming off a win in one of the most underwhelming UFC fights in recent memory against Steve Steinbeiss, while Noke was looking to further his post-TUF UFC career with another win. My pick? Noke. I like the Aussie.
Round One and Kimmons comes forward aggressively, throwing a lot of shots before Noke clinches. Takedown attempt from Kimmons but Noke defends it and trips him down into side mount. Full mount from Noke but Kimmons rolls him and escapes to his feet. Takedown from Kimmons but Noke reverses back up with a whizzer. Headlock from Kimmons but Noke lands some knees to the legs and turns into him in the clinch. Bodylock and a trip from Noke and Kimmons goes down again. He turns for a kimura but Noke looks really calm and gets free, landing some elbows in the process. Kimmons holds on from half-guard but continues to take short elbows to the head. Full guard from Kimmons but he continues to take shots from there. The Aussie is doing a really nice job thus far. He passes to side mount and then looks for the full mount, but Kimmons reverses and gets on top in half-guard. Hip escape from Noke somehow allows Kimmons into side mount. Noke rolls and Kimmons takes the back and looks for the choke, but the Aussie rolls for a kneebar! Kimmons looks to escape as Noke tries for a toehold, and the round ends with a duelling leglock spot. Good round, probably 10-9 Kyle Noke.
Round Two and Noke opens with a stiff jab. Kimmons comes back with a flurry and backs Noke up, but the Aussie gets a clinch and trips him down right into full mount. Looked like Kimmons might’ve twisted his foot on the way down too. Few solid punches from Noke and it looks like he might be setting up an armbar, but instead he lands some hard shots that cause Kimmons to give his back. Rear naked choke, boom, tapout, over.
Hey, I said Noke could become a solid gatekeeper at 185lbs in the UFC and if he’s going to do that he needs to be beating the likes of Rob Kimmons, and he did that in pretty impressive fashion here. Kimmons had a couple of decent moments but overall Noke was always a step ahead. Not a bad fight at all, actually.
Alright, not to blow my own trumpet but usually when everyone goes “WHO?” in reference to a UFC fight between two newcomers, I’ve normally got some idea as to what both guy is all about. Comes with watching stupid amounts of MMA. With this fight though? Not the case. I literally had no idea on either guy outside of knowing Krauss was German with a cool nickname (Panzer, like the tank, get it?) and Scanlon was a Scouse guy out of the Kaobon (Terry Etim, Paul Sass, etc) camp. Both had a bunch of cool sounding finishes on their record though so I was at least expecting something exciting.
First round begins and both men look ready to strike, with Krauss pushing forward. Big right hand from Scanlon and he really swings, but Krauss fires back with a leg kick. Good combo from Scanlon and he gets a double leg to guard. Krauss ends up seated against the cage and Scanlon looks for a guillotine, but Krauss manages to get a butterfly guard to alleviate the pressure. Scanlon tries it again and jumps to the koala position to finish, but Krauss does an excellent job of freeing his head and they end up in the clinch. Nice elbow from Krauss and he uses the plum clinch to deliver some knees as well, but Scanlon breaks off with an elbow of his own. Nice leg kick from Krauss but Scanlon comes back swinging bombs. They continue to trade strikes and Scanlon looks to be landing the more powerful shots. Into the clinch again and Krauss stuffs a takedown and moves him towards the fence. Good shots inside from Krauss and he drops for a takedown and gets it. Good shots from Krauss as Scanlon’s arm is trapped against the cage. Krauss tries to pass the half-guard, but Scanlon uses the cage to stand. Krauss uses a whizzer to take him down again for a second, then lands a good knee and tackles him down properly before passing to side mount. Scanlon gets back to half-guard quickly, but Krauss works through to mount and lands some hard shots. Scanlon again reclaims half-guard, but he ends the round on the bottom. Excellent opening round, and a close one to score too. I’d go 10-9 Krauss though I think.
Into the 2nd and Scanlon comes out swinging again, but Krauss shows a strong chin and grabs the clinch. Scanlon muscles him into the fence and they jockey for position before Scanlon breaks. Combo from Scanlon and both men fire knees from inside the clinch before Krauss drags the Brit to the ground. Half-guard for Scanlon but Krauss avoids a reversal attempt and keeps top position. Nice body punches from Krauss and the crowd are way into this for obvious reason. Scanlon sits up and leaves himself open for a D’Arce, but he escapes to full guard as Krauss looks to lock it up. Krauss postures up to deliver some more ground-and-pound and then passes to side mount to do some more damage. Full mount now and he lands some solid punches before Scanlon escapes to half-guard. Mount again and Krauss opens up with some big shots that cause Scanlon to give his back. Krauss looks for the choke, but Scanlon remains calm and does a good job on defence, managing to shake the German off and get into top position. Only seconds to go though and the round ends before Scanlon can capitalize. 10-9 Krauss.
3rd round and both men look a bit tired now. They trade some shots early on with Scanlon still swinging some big hooks. Takedown from Scanlon and he lands in full guard. The Brit rears up in the guard to drop some elbows, but Krauss covers up and Scanlon surprisingly lets him to his feet. Good combo from Scanlon and he follows with a flying knee and another takedown. Krauss ties him up from butterfly guard and Scanlon decides to let him up again. Ref calls time to cut some loose tape off Scanlon’s glove, and they restart with Scanlon landing a nice leg kick and a right hand that lands pretty clean. Krauss has a hell of a chin. Guillotine attempt now from Scanlon and he drops to guard, but Krauss looks okay and he pops his head free. Short hammer fists from Krauss and he easily avoids an armbar. Scanlon looks tired now and I don’t think he’s getting up from here. Krauss continues to work the head and body and then passes to side mount. Big punches from Krauss in a Hughes crucifix variant, and it looks like the fight might be stopped for a second but referee Leon Roberts is having none of it. Scanlon manages to last the round but it’s clearly Krauss’s fight.
Judges have it 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 for Pascal Krauss. Really good fight and although Krauss won pretty handily it wasn’t like Scanlon was a tomato can for him and I think he has some potential too if he can work on his overall game. Krauss though looked like a big time prospect and it should be interesting to see how he progresses in his next fight. Post-fight he shows a TON of charisma too, especially for a German guy! I’m almost a fan. Almost!
Man, you talk about proper veterans – I think we all know the deal on Vladdy who’s been around FOREVER now, but even though he’s lesser known Cacareco’s actually been fighting longer – his first documented fight (on Sherdog at least) is a loss via DQ (eye gouging!) to Tim Catalfo in 1998. With a really aggressive, exciting style I’m surprised Zuffa hadn’t picked him up before actually. Naturally I was pulling for the guy but Vladdy is a tough fight for anyone, particularly a UFC debutant.
Fight gets underway and they circle before Cacareco dives on a single leg. Vladdy works to defend it as the Brazilian really goes for it, then pulls guard. A scramble allows Matyushenko to escape a headlock and get into top position, but Cacareco quickly comes back to his feet and they muscle for position in the clinch. They trade some knees and Vladdy stuffs a takedown and breaks off. Good punches from Matyushenko and he avoids another leg dive. Back into the clinch and Vladdy easily trips him to the ground. Cacareco quickly looks to go for a leglock, but Matyushenko pulls out and stands over him. He drops into side mount and lands a couple of elbows and hammer fists, then really OPENS UP with some brutal shots, a lot of them landing to the back of the head as Cacareco tries to roll. More shots from Vladdy have the Brazilian hurt and he gives up mount, and Matyushenko lands some CRUSHING ELBOWS for the stoppage.
Bit of an odd situation post-fight as there seems to be confusion over whether Matyushenko hit the back of the head or not, but in the end it’s called as a TKO. Right decision as it wasn’t like Vladdy was aiming for that spot; Cacareco just rolled that way. Very impressive win for Matyushenko proving there’s still life in the old dog yet. Cacareco for my money needs to drop to 185lbs ASAP (he’s only 5’9”) as I think he’ll just get outmuscled at 205lbs as was the case here.
This one got bumped onto the main card when Rivera-Sakara went down the pan, as I guess they wanted something exciting and both of these fighters tend to deliver. Osipczak was looking to come back from a disappointing loss to Greg Soto, while this was Bang’s first fight back following a DISGUSTING injury to his ankle in March. Seriously, one of the sickest injuries I’ve ever seen in MMA.
Fight begins and they exchange some kicks early, as the crowd chant “USA!” Weird as it’s in Germany, but Goldberg mentions that a ton of US soldiers from a nearby military base are in the crowd, so that explains things. Couple of good leg kicks land for Slick Nick. Big head kick from Bang has the Brit stunned for a moment and he covers up to avoid a flurry before looking to answer with some knees. Ludwig clinches and forces him into the cage, but Osipczak reverses position. They exchange knees to the body before Nick drops for a single, but Bang shows some good defence and breaks off. Good combo from Ludwig has Nick rocked, and he follows with a head kick and a big knee that forces the Brit to clinch. When they break though Osipczak comes back with a combo of his own. Good body kick from Bang. Beautiful counter right hand from Osipczak lands flush but Bang fires back with a body kick. Bang comes forward with a combo but Osipczak blocks it and then counters with a short left hand that drops Ludwig to his knees! Bang bounces up but he’s in deep trouble and Osipczak follows with a BIG COMBO that puts him down again! Nick follows down and pounds away from mount, looking to finish, but Bang pushes his legs off the fence and manages to survive. Nick stays on top though in side mount and it looks like Bang’s bleeding a lot. Reversal from Bang brings him to his feet but Osipczak trips him right back down to guard. Major cut over Bang’s right eye. Round ends with Osipczak grinding on Ludwig from the guard, landing some solid elbows. Bang was winning early but it has to be Osipczak’s round as he came so close to finishing him.
Second round and they exchange strikes early on again with both men landing some decent blows. Couple of really crisp leg kicks connect for Bang. Osipczak clinches and they exchange knees again before Nick breaks. Straight left from Nick but he misses with a head kick. Ludwig walks him down and lands a solid body kick but Osipczak dodges a combo and lands a kick of his own. Looks like Bang’s cut on the left side of his face now too. Nice single leg from Osipczak with about a minute and half remaining, and he moves into half-guard but doesn’t do the amount of damage he did in the first round this time. Ref stands them up with seconds to go and Bang shoots for a takedown of his own, but Osipczak stuffs it and that’s the round. Close round to score but I’d go 10-9 Osipczak as the stand-up was relatively even while Nick got a takedown and some ground control. So it’s 20-18 to Osipczak going into the third.
Third round but the ref calls time with seconds gone as Osipczak’s forgotten his mouthpiece! They restart and Nick lands a body kick before Bang shoots for a single leg. Osipczak works to defend it and does so, and then drops for a takedown of his own. Bang escapes though and begins to stalk forward. Osipczak suddenly looks gassed, too. Nick gets a clinch but Bang quickly breaks, and unloads with a nice combo ending in a pair of body shots. Another combo from Bang and Osipczak is just backpedalling and covering up now. His counters are a lot slower too. Bang keeps unloading on him and Nick is definitely running on fumes. Big knees to the body from Bang and he lands a couple of solid elbows to the side of the head too. I’m thinking Bang probably hurt Nick with a shot to the body. Big combos from Ludwig and Osipczak evidently has one hell of a chin. This is a one-sided round. One minute to go and Bang continues to land but just can’t put him away. Round ends with Bang looking for a takedown. I have this 29-28 for Osipczak but I could see a 28-28 draw too if you give Bang a 10-8 in the third.
Split decision from the judges, 30-28 Osipczak, 29-28 Ludwig and 29-28 for Bang Ludwig. What? Sorry, but that’s an awful decision. Sure in PRIDE rules maybe Ludwig wins on the basis of that third round, but how you could give him the second round too I really don’t know. Obviously he didn’t win the first round. Fun fight but the decision leaves a bad taste especially as Osipczak got released following this, his third loss in a row, but he should’ve won this fight and probably should’ve won the fight with Rick Story in April too meaning he’d actually be 5-1 in UFC rather than 2-3.
Odd to see a guy moving *up* a weight class as opposed to down, but this was Reljic’s return to 205lbs following a couple of bad outings at 185lbs. Soszynski was coming into this one as a firm favourite, which is pretty crazy given he’s the definition of a gatekeeper and Reljic was supposed to be the next big thing when he first signed with UFC in 2008.
Round One and both men look content to strike, with Soszynski the aggressor and Reljic looking to counter. Nothing major landing for either man with a minute gone. Good body kick from Reljic, answered by the same from Soszynski. Both guys really swing in a trade but neither lands. This is pretty even thus far. Soszynski chases forward and Reljic decides to switch things up and goes for a takedown, but Soszynski stuffs it and they end up clinched. Ref Marc Goddard calls the separation and Soszynski pushes with strikes, but Reljic gets a takedown and passes to half-guard. Soszynski goes for a kimura, but it looks like Reljic’s okay. Reljic punches and elbows the body as Soszynski continues to work for the kimura, but he can’t get it and the round ends with the Croatian on top. Razor-close round but I’d lean towards Goran Reljic.
Into the 2nd and Soszynski connects with a nice one-two early. Body kick from Reljic though and he hits another takedown to guard. Reljic is doing very little from the top though. Crowd sound pretty restless before Marc Goddard calls the stand-up. Soszynski pushes forward and lands a couple of solid jabs and then stuffs a takedown attempt, forcing Reljic back into the cage. He looks for a takedown of his own, then gives up on it and settles into the clinch. They muscle for position and then Reljic drops for a single leg, but Soszynski defends and punches at the body. Good knees to the legs from Soszynski before the ref breaks them up. Head kick from Reljic is blocked as is a takedown attempt, and Soszynski clinches and lands some knees to end the round. Well, that round sucked. Another close one too, no idea how I’d go.
Third round and they exchange punches to begin with both men landing. Takedown attempt from Reljic but Soszynski stuffs it and uses a front facelock to spin to the back with Reljic in the turtle position. Good shots from Soszynski but Reljic rolls for a leglock. Soszynski makes him pay with some heavy punches though and ends up on top in half-guard. He stands to drop some shots but that allows Reljic up too. His face is a mess. Both men swing and then Reljic goes for the takedown, but Soszynski defends it again. Standing kimura attempt from Soszynski and he twists the arm up, but without body control Reljic slips free. He staggers backwards though, looking really tired. Good punches from Soszynski and he really pushes the pace. Reljic drops to his back to avoid a big knee but he takes some ground-and-pound before Soszynski moves to side mount. Good escape from Reljic to get to half-guard but Soszynski ends the fight with some big shots.
Third round was all Soszynski so I figure the decision has to be his. Rogan’s calling it a great fight but I don’t agree. Judges have it 30-27 all round for Krzysztof Soszynski. I figured Reljic won at least one round but whatever, it was definitely Soszynski’s fight. Shocking to see Reljic lose three in a row and get released from the UFC, but I think the back injury and the layoff that came with it pretty much sabotaged his career as he hasn’t looked the same since to me. So-so fight with a few good parts and a few bad parts too.
No clue how this made the main card, although it isn’t like any of the prelims would’ve fitted any better I guess. It probably made it here because Sobotta’s German, although fuck it, guys who go 0-2 with the promotion are usually released, not put on the main portion of a numbered card! Guy just got lucky. I was expecting a whitewash from Sadollah here, no offense to Sobotta.
First round gets started and Sadollah looks really light on his feet as he bounces around on the outside. Couple of kicks miss and then he wades in with some punches, but Sobotta grabs a clinch and forces him into the cage. Amir breaks though and continues to push forward, landing a front kick and dodging a combo. Another combo follows but Sobotta grabs the clinch again. Good elbow inside from Amir. Flurry breaks for Sobotta but Amir pushes forward with a leg kick. Good combo from Sadollah and he comfortably looks like the better striker here. Trio of nasty leg kicks land for the TUF winner. He looks to be picking the German apart. Big head kick misses though and Sobotta ducks under and grabs a rear waistlock. He looks to get one hook in from a standing position but Amir quickly gets rid of that and looks to separate the hands. He manages to turn into Sobotta and they end up clinched again. One minute to go and Sobotta keeps trying for the takedown, but he can’t get Amir off his feet. Nice knee to the gut from Sadollah and he’s doing a really good job of defending this takedown attempt. Round ends with Amir breaking off and chasing with strikes. 10-9 Sadollah.
Round Two and Sadollah opens by pushing forward with a leg kick. Body kick from Sobotta fires back. Combo from Amir and he avoids a clinch. Spinning back kick misses for Sobotta. Sadollah continues to pick him apart with combos and easily avoids Sobotta’s wild counters. Sobotta is looking tired actually. Good left uppercut from the TUF winner. Leg kick follows but a head kick misses. Nice front kick from Amir. Sobotta goes for a single leg and gets it for a second, but Amir pops right back up into the clinch. Amir breaks off and lands a nice combo. Beautiful chopping inside leg kick from Amir and he follows with an outside one too. Sobotta tries to fire back with a wheel kick, but slips to the ground and ends up on his back in half-guard. Amir decides to stand back up over him and then fires off with a couple more combinations before dropping Sobotta with a front kick to the body to finish the round off. 10-9 Sadollah.
Round Three and Sadollah comes out quicker firing kicks to the body and the leg again. Spinning kick misses again for Sobotta. Left hand lands for him but has little effect and Amir continues to pick at him. Amir’s striking is on another level to Sobotta’s. Leg kick buckles the German a little and Amir goes after it, but Sobotta tries a single leg and uses it to get to the clinch. He can’t get Amir down though and they break off. To his credit Sobotta is still returning fire, but he can’t seem to land anything significant. Another couple of heavy leg kicks land for Amir and Sobotta’s clearly hurt by them now. Spinning kick again misses for the German. Combo from Amir leads to another clinch, but they break swiftly. Hard left hook connects for him with less than a minute to go. Looks like Sobotta’s going to go the distance though. More of the same follows with Amir continually landing, and that’s the fight.
To the judges and it’s a unanimous decision for Amir Sadollah, 30-27 all round. Decent win for Amir but if we’re being frank Sobotta probably isn’t quite at the UFC level and it wasn’t really an exciting fight, just a dull kickboxing match for the most part.
As I mentioned earlier, this was bumped into the semi-main when the card lost Sakara-Rivera, but hey, I guess Siver is naturally mad over with the German crowd so it was probably the right move. With Winner being an explosive striker himself I was expecting a pretty wild kickboxing-type match here. I was picking Andre but come on; you can’t expect me to pick a Kraut over a Brit anyway, can you?
First round gets underway and Siver is mightily over with the crowd as you’d imagine. The politicians in places like Germany that want UFC banned are fucking retarded, seriously. They trade strikes right away, with a Siver leg kick answered by a flying knee to the chest from Winner. These guys are swinging heavy. Winner looks to have the early advantage, landing some nice leg kicks as Siver still seems to be trying to deal with the reach of the Brit. Good leg kick from Siver. Winner comes back with a sick combo ending with a left kick to the body, but Siver manages to clip him with a counter left hand. Winner presses forward and Siver goes for a single leg, but Winner shrugs it off and they exchange on the break. Striking exchange continues with both men firing off shots. Beautiful chopping leg kick from Andre. Siver fires back with three kicks of his own, landing two low but missing one high. Winner comes forward...but walks right into a BIG LEFT HAND that drops him face-first! Siver pounces with some shots and Winner is clearly done, but for some reason referee Kevin Mulhall lets it go on. Andre tries to roll but Siver takes his back, trapping an arm in the process ala BJ Penn. Couldn’t tell whether he was trying to do that or just managed to do it, to be honest. Siver gets the choke sunk and takes FOREVER to finish it off, but finally he manages to force the tapout to a big pop.
Alright, so this was a perfectly acceptable fight, and a really good performance from Dennis Siver to deal with a guy as fast and explosive as Andre Winner, but how he won Submission of the Night I do not know. I mean not only did he take FOREVER to close out a choke on a guy who if we’re honest, was already TKOd, but Carlos Eduardo Rocha’s kneebar on the prelims was one of the best submissions of the YEAR, let alone the night! Still after the last two fights I’m not complaining about one actually ending in an exciting fashion.
Initially this was supposed to be Okami taking on Vitor Belfort for a Middleweight Title shot, but Chael Sonnen’s positive test for the juice changed that as he got bumped from his rematch with Anderson and they decided to stick Belfort in there instead, which left Okami without an opponent until Marquardt decided to step in as he hadn’t taken any damage in his September win over Toquinho anyway. Strangely enough I was pulling for Okami, as I prefer fresh challengers for Silva and Marquardt just feels like been there, done that at this point. Side note but the video package for this fight makes Okami look like one of the most exciting guys in the world to watch, even finding some highlights from the god-awful Jason MacDonald fight. Seriously good job from the UFC media team.
Round One and they circle before Okami lands a stiff jab. He follows with a half-takedown attempt but as he leans his head down Marquardt grabs a guillotine and looks to close it out. They roll and Marquardt ends up letting go and settling into Okami’s guard. Okami gets a butterfly guard and ties him up, before Nate manages to work through into half-guard. Big elbow misses for Marquardt and Okami looks to explode free, but Nate grabs the guillotine again and pulls guard. Okami pops his head free right away and now he’s on top in half-guard. Nate uses a butterfly guard to work back into full guard as Okami tries to throw some short punches that don’t really do much. Into half-guard for Okami but it looks like Marquardt’s just stalling for a stand-up. He decides to roll for a leglock instead, but Okami calmly avoids and they end up back on their feet. Okami pushes forward with his jab and a straight left, then he drops for a single leg. He switches to a bodylock, but Marquardt does a good job of hopping around to avoid. Okami switches back to the double leg and gets him down, but he doesn’t do much before the round ends. Close round to score but I’d go with Yushin Okami, 10-9.
Round Two and Okami walks him down early, but Marquardt sprawls to avoid a takedown. Marquardt decides to return the favour and tries a single leg from a pretty long distance, but Okami blocks it. Takedown attempt from Okami follows but Nate stuffs that and they end up clinched on the fence. They muscle for position before Marquardt lands a knee to the midsection and then hits a beautiful trip down to guard. Okami gets seated against the cage and then wall-walks to his feet, but Nate drags him back down and lands a couple of punches and a knee as he escapes to his feet again. Okami pushes forward again and lands a jab into a takedown attempt, but Nate defends it again and the crowd sound pretty annoyed now. Finally Okami gives up on it and ends up pushing forward without really doing much, and the fight gets so dull it sounds like Goldberg has been replaced with a soundbite from a video game. BIG right hand from Marquardt finally breaks the boredom as Okami lunges in, but he doesn’t follow it up and Okami plays the aggressor to close the round. 10-9 Marquardt, literally for the takedown and the right hand as so little happened.
Round Three and Okami works the jab early, pushing forward as Marquardt circles around on the outside. Okami is getting the better of this fight with his jab, but neither man’s showing the urgency you’d expect in the third round of a title eliminator. Marquardt especially is being shockingly defensive. Good straight left lands for Okami as he continues to push the action. Couple of counter rights land for Nate but he’s taking more jabs from Okami. They clinch for a moment and then Marquardt hits a tackle and takes Okami down into guard. Kimura attempt from Okami and he uses it to get an underhook and escapes to his feet. One minute to go and Okami is still playing the aggressor, throwing more punches and forcing Nate to circle along the fence. They clinch with seconds to go and then break and Nate catches him with a right hand just after the buzzer. Round sucked but I’d give it to Yushin Okami giving him the fight 29-28 overall. Could probably go either way though.
Judges have it a unanimous decision, 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28 for Yushin Okami. I actually thought we’d get a split decision there but I guess the judges were all favouring Okami’s pushing the fight as opposed to Marquardt’s couple more takedowns and submission attempts. Overall though this was a pretty dull affair; it felt like it never got out of the feeling out stage and Marquardt especially came out with a really defensive gameplan, like he was too worried about potentially losing the title shot to ever actually go for the win. Okami is Okami and always fights with that conservative style, but with the right opponent he can have a good fight. Evidently, Marquardt was not the right opponent. And naturally it’s up in the air again whether Okami gets his shot at Silva after all, which begs the question, if he doesn’t, why did they put us through such an awful fight?
-Highlight reel follows if you can call it that.
It’s almost cliché now that sometimes a bad card on paper makes for a good show, but that wasn’t the case here – somehow this one ended up being worse in execution than I’d expected going in. Sure, all of the prelims end in exciting fashion, but that can’t make up for a terrible main card with one half-decent fight spoiled by a bad decision (Osipczak-Ludwig) and one good-ish fight in Siver-Winner but little else. People called UFC 119 the worst UFC show of the post-TUF era but at least that had Sherk-Dunham, and nothing here comes close to that fight. Worst UFC of 2010, easy. Thumbs way down.
Best Fight: Osipczak-Ludwig
Worst Fight: Sadollah-Sobotta
Overall Rating: **
UFC: 123-127, Fight Night 23
Strike Force: Feijao vs. Henderson
DREAM: Dynamite 2010
King of the Cage: Various shows