12 November 2010
Despite the best efforts of the German government and media to stifle the expansion of UFC, and all MMA, into the country, Zuffa and company will make their triumphant return to Deutschland when the stage UFC 122 live from the Koing Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany. The main event will feature Nate Marquardt taking on Yushin Okami in a middleweight title contender bout.
You may not fully know who Yushin Okami is, but the Japanese middleweight title contender has pocketed a string of high-caliber wins since joining the UFC in 2006. Though arguably more famous for pinning an “L” on Anderson Silva’s record (Silva was DQ’d in a 2006 bout at Rumble on the Rock 8) Okami has never the less faced some considerable legitimate contenders in his time under the Zuffa umbrella. With wins over the likes of Alan Belcher, Mike Swick, Evan Tanner, and Mark Munoz, it’s clear to see that Okami has earned his shot at a rematch with middleweight ruler Anderson Silva.
On the flip side, Marquardt is wildly regarded as one of the UFC’s toughest and fan-friendly fighters. The former King of Pancrase has been fighting back into title contention including a highlight reel knockout of Damian Maia in 2009. Despite faltering to Chael Sonnen, Marquardt rebounded with a stoppage victory of Rousimar Palhares in his last fight this past September. While Marquardt is wildly considered one of the upper echelon fighters in the middleweight division, the fact that Okami has a way of drawing his opponents into his deliberate grind style of wrestling makes this fight much more competitive than popular perception.
Should Marquardt emerge victorious it’s all but guaranteed that he gets another crack at division ruler Anderson Silva. The same can’t be said for Okami, but needless to say, the stakes are high for these two fighters.
Prediction: Simply put, Marquardt has far too many tools to use in exploiting Okami. While no one questions the fact that Okami has the superior edge in wrestling. The fact that Okami has sought out the tutelage of Marquardt conquer Sonnen only bolsters that fact. Still, in light of Okami’s smothering wrestling attack, you cannot discount the fact that Marquardt has the superior striking and submission acumen. In the end look for Marquardt to win a unanimous decision in a very ascetically ugly fight.
Confidence: About 60%. Okami has a knack for turning fights into the slow paced grind that he prefers. But, with that being said, the stakes are incredibly high for Marquardt and as such I see him pulling out the victory.
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