This Saturday Night: Nate Marquardt defends his Strikeforce crown against Tarec Saffiedine

Marquardt defeating Woodley. Photo Credit: The great Esther Lin.

Marquardt defeating Woodley. Photo Credit: The great Esther Lin.

The final Strikeforce event ever will be headlined by the five round, title clash of Nate Marquardt vs Tarec Saffiedine.

The longtime UFC veteran found himself out of Zuffa in the Summer of 2011, getting released by Dana White on a vlog. He was set to face Anthony Johnson at first, but then Johnson pulled out due to an injury. Rick Story, on short noticed jumped at the opportunity to face the consensus top ten middleweight. It would have been Marquardt’s first UFC welterweight fight. Story had just jumped into the top ten after defeating Thiago Alves in May 2011. Marquardt was forced out of the fight due to TRT issues, was promptly fired, and Charlie Brennenman took his spot. Brennenman upset Story that night.

Marquardt found himself in BAMMA, was signed then was released from the promotion in short fashion, before even fighting once. He then got signed by Strikeforce, where he faced Tyron Woodley in a remarkable title fight on July 2012. One of the better fights of the year, it went back and forth, with both men being hurt at different points . Marquardt finished Woodley with a violent flurry in the fourth frame, to capture the vacant Strikeforce welterweight crown.

Tarec Saffiedine has been an underrated performer for two years now. He got some attention when he defeated Brock Larson on September 2010, but his most well known fight was against Tyron Woodley on January 2011. At the time, some people criticized Woodley for struggling so much for a close decision win against Saffiedine. But what maybe should have been discussed, was how much better Saffiedine was than what we initially thought. Saffiedine would go on to easily outstrike Scott Smith in his next fight, along with defeating Tyler Stinson (a fight where Saffiedine did get rocked) and Roger Bowling next.

Saffiedine is a slick striker, who’s slowly improved over time and is a difficult opponent for many. Marquardt is a jack of all trades, good at many things but a master of none. Personality wise, this might seem a little dry. One wouldn’t mistake either guy for being a charismatic fighter like previous Strikeforce headliners Nick Diaz or Frank Shamrock. But this could be a very competitive, interesting fight. It seems like a low key end to a product that produced so many exciting and explosive moments. But let’s hope this fight delivers as well as Marquardt vs Woodley did.

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