Nate Marquardt (top) is capable of violent finishes. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
UFC Live 4 on Sunday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh showcases a welterweight battle between rising contender Rick Story and Nate Marquardt, a long-time staple of the middleweight division.
With Story’s late substitution for the injured Anthony Johnson, the new main event loses little luster and perhaps gains some, as Story gets the rare opportunity to score two wins in the UFC in less than a month. Marquardt, always a talented contender at 185 pounds, drops to welterweight in the hopes that he can make noise there after numerous attempts to get over the hump against the elite middleweights.
The co-headliner and the remainder of the televised lineup provide numerous compelling matchups, including two heavyweight battles. Here is a closer look at the UFC Live 4 “Marquardt vs. Story” main card, which airs live on the Versus network.
Nate Marquardt (31-10-2, 10-4 UFC) vs. Rick Story (13-3, 6-1 UFC)
The Matchup: Story prides himself on being the stronger guy, as well as the better wrestler. He will have a live one in Marquardt, an able, well-rounded former middleweight title contender whose Achilles’ heel at 185 pounds was being outwrestled.
The key to Story’s success against Thiago Alves at UFC 130 was not his wrestling but his gritty resilience and effective standup. Story throws a solid one-two while planting himself in the pocket, daring opponents to test their chins against his; he showed an amazing beard against Alves, taking some eye-popping bombs in the final round but simply refusing to back off. Alves could not dent him.
Marquardt cutting to 170 remains an unknown. He was a thick middleweight and an accomplished one, but it would be difficult to pick him in this fight, considering Story’s pace and intensity against a potentially weight cut-drained foe.
If Marquardt can make the drop without killing his stamina, he can probably outstrike Story in spots, using movement and angles. However, once Story makes it a chest-to-chest battle, we will find out how much Marquardt brought into the cage and how much he left in the sauna. Story is on a roll right now, and having just fought a few weeks before, he will be sharp and fine-tuned.
The Pick: Story will have his hands full, but that only seems to make the guy fight harder. He will do enough to dig out a unanimous decision, overpowering Marquardt down the stretch in another impressive showing.
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