Nate Marquardt file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Wednesday night used to be home to crappy sitcoms and whatever reality television dreck the suits are trying to mesmerize the masses with. Thankfully, that night has been transformed into serious fistic business by the UFC Fight Night series.
UFC Fight Night 22 is the newest addition to the ongoing saga, and it meets the same standard as every Fight Night show -- free fights starring world-class fighters. I don’t think I need to diagram this up for you.
Read. Learn. Deify.
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Nate Marquardt vs. Rousimar Palhares
There isn’t a whole lot to be said about fights involving Palhares beyond the obvious. The obvious being that if Palhares gets a hold of a leg early, then the local arthroscopic surgeon will have some work to do that night. Of course, if that early submission doesn’t materialize, it’s typically downhill given his one-note style and minimal cardio.
Which scenario plays out depends largely on how Marquardt chooses to approach this fight. Any attempts to fight at Palhares’ pace will be disastrous. The Brazilian’s combination of raw strength and learned skill make him an absolute beast on the floor, especially early on. However, in bouts with Jeremy Horn and Dan Henderson, it became obvious that his offense grows exceedingly predictable over time and his cardio is all but gone once his opening salvo fails.
Marquardt may not be a great defensive wrestler, but neither is Dan Henderson and he was able to frustrate Palhares with basic techniques like lateral movement and grabbing underhooks. That’s a strategy any remotely world-class fighter can replicate, and Marquardt has the added benefit of having the grappling chops to at least give himself a shot at survival if Palhares puts him in a tight spot. While anyone who hits the floor with a fresh Palhares is in danger, Marquardt is no Tomasz Drwal or Lucio Linhares.
On the feet, Marquardt can pick apart Palhares, who basically throws nothing but telegraphed power punches. Not only is Marquardt more versatile, he sets up his strikes better and can put together some slick combinations when he finds his groove. The other variable here is the tutelage of Greg Jackson, who doesn’t get the best results with undisciplined freelancers, but given a focused professional like Marquardt, the results speak to a strong focus on strategy.
Palhares wouldn’t be the first one-dimensional fighter to beat Marquardt, but his inability to sustain offense over time makes it dicey to pick him. No one should blink if Palhares puts Marquardt’s foot on backward, but I like “The Great” to survive a tough first round and rally for a decision win. Regardless, anyone who has sprained an ankle is advised to look the other way if Palhares gets his hands on one of Marquardt’s feet.