Nate Marquardt defended his Strikeforce Welterweight title for first -- and last -- time tonight (Jan. 12, 2013) against Tarec Saffiedine in the promotion's final main event fight on Showtime before it closes its doors forever.
"Sponge" wasn't supposed to be a stiff test for a top guy like Marquardt who feels he deserves a 170-pound title shot if and when he returns to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the near future. However, Saffiedine brought his "A-Game" to the "Sooner State" and gave Marquardt everything he could handle.
And everything included a loss.
Marquardt and Saffiedine seemingly battled to a stalemate after three rounds of mixed martial arts (MMA) action. The stand up exchanges were pretty even, with Saffiedine getting the better if them thanks in large part to a knock down in the early going, as well as the leg kicks.
Oh, the leg kicks.
Saffiedine strafed Marquardt throughout the bout, but in the championship rounds is when "The Great" began to suffer from them -- he could barely walk much less fight to his potential because they caused so much damage. Saffiedine was the fresher fighter, too, in the fourth and fifth, beating Marquardt to the punch as he struggled to catch his breath.
As the clock ticked down, Saffiedine continued to paint Marquardt's leg red and pile up points on the judges scorecards. Marquardt tried his best to dial it up with less than two minutes to go in the bout, but it was too little, too late.
Saffiedine -- who sealed his victory with a late takedown-- got the nod from the judges and, in the process, sealed his fate as the last Strikeforce welterweight champion and the latest addition to the UFC roster.
It's a nutty sport.
For complete results and blow-by-blow coverage of Strikeforce: "Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" click here.