Nate Marquardt has been "Thunder" struck.
"The Great" did not live up to his nickname this evening (Sat., Nov. 13, 2010) at UFC 122, losing a three-round unanimous decision to Yushin Okami at the König Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany.
That's not all he lost -- Okami earned number one 185-pound contender status with perhaps the biggest win of his career, sending Marquardt to the bottom of the ladder once again heading into 2011.
It was a close fight, however, with Okami taking the first and third rounds (all three of them on one judge's scorecard) in a main event that was incredibly difficult to score ... and to watch at times.
Nonetheless, the Japanese import -- who has now won three straight fights and 10 of 12 inside the Octagon -- finally has what he has worked years for, a title shot. And a potential rematch against division deity Anderson Silva sometime in early 2011 if the "Spider" can crush Vitor Belfort at UFC 126.
Okami, remember, is the last man to defeat the beastly Brazilian, earning a disqualification win back in 2006 after a few errant (and illegal) upkicks ended his night early.
It's a long overdue rematch ... if it happens. Either way, he deserves what he's got coming to him -- his resume in the division is downright impressive.
Jorge Rivera and Alessio Sakara were set to provide fans with an explosive co-main event but unfortunately for all involved, "Legionarius" was struck with an illness and the fight was scrapped.
It was a big loss to a main card that certainly lacked a bit of punch.
The fight promoted to occupy that slot certainly didn't disappoint, though. Dennis Siver was looking to make the crowd in Germany a happy group but had a tough matchup in British striker Andre Winner.
The spinning back kick specialist never needed to use his trademark move as he was content to employ the dynamite in his gloves.
Winner, a finalist on season nine of the "Ultimate Fighter" (TUF) reality show, came into the fight thinking his reach and speed advantage, at least in his eyes, would be enough to handle the brickhouse standing across from him.
He couldn't have been more wrong.
After a few exchanges that neither fighter was necessarily getting the better of, Winner lunged in with a punch that missed and Siver made him pay for it in the form of a hard left hand. The Brit immediately collapsed from the shot but somehow managed to survive the coming onslaught of hammerfists.
His luck ran out when the German put the hooks in, trapping one of Winner's arms in the process, and locked in the fight ending rear naked choke. Winner did everything he could to live up to his name but in the end, a lack of consciousness is a strong motivator.
Did we just witness the beginning of a bright future for the international star in Siver? Coming into this fight he said he wanted to either "knock him out or submit him." Done. And done.
While Winner was a finalist of season nine of TUF, the winner of season seven was in action earlier in the evening. Amir Sadollah was looking to get back in the win column and prove the hype created by his "TUF" performance on the reality show was justified.
He accomplished the former; jury is still out on the latter.
Sadollah has been uneven to say the least since his debut in the Octagon, officially, back at the Finale of TUF season seven. In his last fight, he was neutralized by the superior wrestling demonstrated by judoka Dong Hyun Kim.
Peter Sobotta presented a much lesser challenge.
Coming into this contest, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, the German fighter from team Planet Eater held nothing back. Having lost two in a row in as many contests in the UFC, another loss would surely send him to back to the smaller shows.
Unfortunately, he had no answer for the superior Muay Thai of his American counterpart.
When Sobotta attempted to get the fight to the mat, where he must of felt he would have an advantage, Sadollah showed he learned a thing or two from the Kim fight and displayed much improved takedown defense. Is he finally putting everything together and ready to string together a couple of winning performances?
A light-heavyweight tilt between Krzysztof Soszynski and Goran Reljic was also on the card. "The Polish Experiment" was trying to erase the memory of a beatdwon from Stephan Bonnar at UFC 116 in July.
He accomplished exactly that.
Reljic battled a back injury that prevented him from fighting for two years. He dropped down to 185-pounds in his return but lost to both C.B. Dolloway and Kendall Grove before deciding to move back up to light-heavyweight.
Looks like it didn't make much of a difference.
The southpaw was decidedly uncomfortable standing with Soszynski and thought it best to work his wrestling game and take his larger opponent down. He was never able to create positioning he could exploit and that, combined with the injury still possibly affecting his performance, was enough to tire him out by the third frame.
It was an ugly performance from a once promising fighter that may be one of many to be out of a job come Sunday morning.
Duane Ludwig must have been nervous enough for his first fight back since brutally breaking his ankle eight months ago after an awkward landing during a takedown attempt by his then opponent Darren Elkins. Once Alessio Sakara came down with an illness, Ludwig was promoted to the televised card for the world to get a look at how he would react to battle after such a gruesome injury.
He passed the test with flying colors.
Nick Osipczak represented a game opponent who would surely test the will of Ludwig. But the Grudge fighter came out ready to "Bang" and showed no ill effects of the injury that sidelined him for so long.
Though he was dropped in the first round, Ludwig battled back and worked plenty of kicks in the second to even things up. He was even taken down with no incident before forcing a stand up.
The third round is when he turned it on.
Seeing how utterly gassed his opponent was, Ludwig made sure to put the pressure on and never let up until the horn sounded and his return to action was officially a successful one.
The win was exactly what "Bang" needed as he was looking to avoid a three fight skid. He made sure to put an emphatic stamp on his return to the welterweight division.
Overall, even though the preliminary card action outshined the main card, it was an entertaining night of fights.
That’s enough from us — now it’s your turn to discuss "Marquardt vs. Okami" in the comments section below. Are you pleased with all the decisions and their outcomes? Were the judges on point tonight? Did Nate Marquardt just become a gatekeeper? Or is he still a top contender at 185-pounds? What about Dennis Siver? Where does he fit in the lightweight picture? Is Amir Sadollah finally starting to live up to his potential?
Sound off, Maniacs.
For complete UFC 122 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.