Photo by Esther Lin/Forza LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.
Nate Marquardt made his return to mixed martial arts (MMA), sans testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), in the co-main event of tonight's (Sat., July 14, 2012) Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" event at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, against Tyron Woodley.
Marquardt looked fresh at his new weight class. He never lost his breath nor his composure despite a few different instances in the fight when others may have done so. He was rocked once or twice but he promised to break Woodley before the five round fight was up.
And that's what he did.
Woodley ran out of gas by the fourth and once "The Great" had him trapped against the cage, he unloaded with a vicious combination of punches that had the previously unbeaten Woodley out on his feet. It was one of the best knockouts of the year.
Welcome back, Nate.
Marquardt didn't look terribly sucked in at his new weight and in fact, he looked fast and loose. Woodley fired off a few kicks early, which were answered by a few from Nate, one of them a tad too low.
Then Woodley landed a strong right hand that had "The Great" stumbling across the cage. Marquardt was able to clinch up to recover, though, and he came back with a straight right hand of his own that put Woodley on the floor.
Marquardt then worked a guillotine that Woodley rolled out of and back up to the feet. Once there, Nate charged ahead with another high kick and strong punches.
Talk about turning the tide.
Marquardt continued to stalk early in the second, throwing low leg kicks. Woodley responded with a spinning backfist (we're throwing spinning shit now?) that landed but did little to no damage.
The middle part of the round was quiet until Marquardt landed a late straight shot down the pipe that led to a takedown up against the cage. It wasn't much, but it scored points for him late in the round.
Instead of laying back to start the third, Woodley came out firing punches. He overwhelmed Marquardt, dropping him once he had him trapped against the fence and continued unleashing shot after shot after shot.
Nate looked for an arm and that allowed him to get to full closed guard to halt the onslaught. He stalled Woodley's top game enough to force the referee to restart the bout on the feet and once back there, Woodley backed away while Marquardt went back to stalking him.
The round closed with Nate looking far stronger than his foe, a complete 180-degree turn from the way the round started.
The championship rounds came and Woodley looked tired. Marquardt fired away and landed clean. Tyron had no answer for it, either, allowing Marquardt to push him against the cage.
And then he just gave way to the inevitable.
Marquardt dropped bombs while he had Woodley trapped against the fence and it was an uppercut that put him away.
Hey look, Nate Marquardt finally has a Zuffa owned title.
Remember, too, to check out MMAmania.com's ongoing live coverage of the Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" event tonight by clicking here.