Nate Marquardt (bottom): Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
UFC 122 is a case of middleweights aplenty, with not a heavyweight on the card.
That said, this one offers some good match-ups that will help shape the title picture at 185 pounds. And the fact that it’s in Germany means that there will surely be some excellent beer at the afterparties.
What else could you want?
Nate Marquardt vs. Yushin Okami
This middleweight showdown is a showcase of two of the middleweight division’s best. The success of either man will come down to one factor: how much time Marquardt spends on his back.
Compared to most guys competing at the elite level of MMA, Okami has been remarkably successful given how one-dimensional he seems at times. Content to let his stand-up consistent of flicking jabs and little more standing, he remains an exceptionally tough out given his strong wrestling and resilient conditioning.
Marquardt’s task is clear: he’ll have to circle, strike effectively without offering game-breaking openings for the clinch -- where Okami excels -- and mix in judiciously chosen kicks. Marquardt’s hands are pretty good and his confidence with them will be crucial.
If he’s taken down, Marquardt would be best advised to work to stall position and get a referee stand-up, as Okami is very tough to sweep and dislodge once he’s on top of you. This could be the exact kind of fight where fans debate what counts in fight scoring: a few takedowns followed by little top action and damage versus a more active and effective striker on the feet.
Either way, neither fighter is likely to finish the other given the style match-up, unless someone catches the other and explodes with a fight-ending flurry. I like Marquardt here in a tough decision win; he’s the better athlete and has more options, though his takedown defense and ability to get back to his feet will likely be put to the test by Okami, who has spent his camp training with the last man to beat Marquardt, Chael Sonnen, at Team Quest in Oregon.