Sherdog’s Miscellaneous Awards for 2008

Robbery of the Year

Jan 10, 2009
Stephen Martinez/

Tales Leites prospered from
a Nate Marquardt robbery.
Sherdog's Robbery of the Year
By Tim Leidecker

“You saw the fight, right? He ran away with a win based on a technicality and even then it was only a split decision,” Nate Marquardt explained after his June UFC loss to Thales Leites. “I pretty much beat the crap out of him the whole fight.”

Taking on a world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu player is no easy task, but when the fight is extremely tough to score and when the referee seems to be having an off-day as well, 15 minutes inside the Octagon can become an extremely frustrating amount of time.

The former King of Pancrase had done a significantly greater amount of damage in the fight, though his workday inside the cage had not started well, suffering a knockdown just 90 seconds into the first round. The stiff counter punch from Leites would arguably remain the only significant offensive move he landed throughout the fight, and the Brazilian failed to capitalize on the knockdown and the following mount and back mount positions.

Instead Marquardt regained his composure and came close to knocking out Leites late in the first stanza with a series of punches punctuated by a big uppercut. The Nova Uniao fighter survived the onslaught, however, and the 16,000 people in attendance at the sold-out O2 Arena in London knew they were in for a war.

In the second round, fate took its course. Following a takedown, Marquardt was penalized for a mistimed knee to the head of Leites, who was just a split second away from lifting the fourth of his four “points” from the mat (Leites’ hands and knees were down, which deemed the strike illegal). The penalty was harsh but justified.

Knowing that he was down on points in the second round, Marquardt poured it on and punished the visibly weakened Brazilian with vicious ground-and-pound, breaking his nose in the process. At the end of the second, Leites looked as if he had just been run over by a Challenger MT800 track tractor.

Using his superior wrestling in the third round, Marquardt quickly put Leites on his back again. Following a scramble, the Brazilian went for a single-leg takedown, which prompted Marquardt to throw a couple of elbow strikes to shake him off. Referee Herb Dean then penalized him for alleged strikes to the back of the head.

“I think it was a bad call. It was to the side of the head,” a frustrated Marquardt said later on the house microphone. “Many guys have done that to me and I have done it to guys before and never gotten even warned.”

Now desperate due to the point deductions, the 29-year-old Greg Jackson-trained fighter threw everything he had left at Leites. Stiff jabs. Knees to the body. Even the proverbial kitchen sink in the form of a last-second pile driver. Still the damage had been done, and two of the three judges scored the bout 28-27 in favor of Leites.

A loss is a loss, and fueled by the fact that Leites will likely be the next challenger for Anderson Silva’s middleweight strap, Marquardt’s defeat is’s Robbery of the Year. Honorable mention goes to Sergey Golyaev’s daylight theft over Takanori Gomi at Sengoku’s Sixth Battle in early November.
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