UFC middleweight contender Nate “The Great” Marquardt ill be taking fellow top 185’er Yushin “Thunder” Okami this weekend in the main event of UFC 122. Okami is known for having a style that shuts down his opposition and considering that Marquardt fell victim to a similar smothering style when he faced Chael Sonnen back in February, the question has been raised of whether or not Marquardt can avoid Okami’s stifling attack. Speaking during an appearance on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown program, Marquardt addressed the query and explained that he has learned enough from his loss to Sonnen to avoid Okami’s type of offense.
“Having dealt with that before, having gone through those losses, I’ve learned from them,” Marquardt said. “Having smart aggression, that’s the key. If you’re just aggressive, a fighter like [Okami], that fits perfectly into their style. But when I use smart aggression and I’m able to explode at certain points of the fight and control the fight and then also do the damage, that’s what’s going to get me the win.”
“The Great” has maintained since losing a unanimous decision to Sonnen that a failure to follow the game plan was the reason for his defeat; the Greg Jackson trained fighter has pledged not to make the same mistake again and has a specific strategy prepared to get past “Thunder.”
“If I just go out there and walk forward the whole fight, he’s going to eat me up,” Marquardt said. “A counter fighter is waiting for someone to do that to him. I’m going to set him up and find openings, make openings, then I’m going to do the damage.”
Okami’s style lends itself to grueling, slow-paced bouts that leave many MMA fans wanting more. Marquardt is planning to avoid settling into a drawn-out grind with Okami and pointed to his recent performances as evidence of the fact that a fight involving Nate Marquardt is rarely a dull one.
“If you look at my last five fights, I’ve knocked out four of my opponents,” he said. “The only fight that I lost, against Chael, was Fight of the Night. I did the most damage in that fight. I am an exciting fighter. That’s not something I have to worry about. As long as I follow my game plan, the fight’s going to go great.”
UFC 122 goes down this Saturday at the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany.