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Strikeforce: Nate Marquardt Vs. Tarec Saffiedine

Nate Marquardt (c) vs. Tarec Saffiedine for Strikeforce welterweight championship

We’ve arrived at the main event, and final fight in Strikeforce, as Nate Marquardt (32-10-2) puts his Strikeforce welterweight title on the line against Tarec Saffiedine (13-3). John McCarthy will be the third man inside the cage.

Round 1: Marquardt being very patient to start, as Saffiedine is dancing around the outside of the center of the cage. Saffiedine lands a pair of solid leg kicks, and Marquardt fires one back himself. Exchange of kicks by the two, and they do the same again. Saffiedine catches Marquardt coming in with a quick jab, dropping the champion. Marquardt goes for a takedown, but is denied, and Saffiedine ties him up against the fence. Marquardt catches Saffiedine coming out with an elbow. Front kick misses by Marquardt, as Saffiedine fires back with a jab. Marquardt goes for a standing choke, and is attempting to spin to the back. Knees to the body are exchanged by the two.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Marquardt

Round 2: Marquardt with a takedown and is working Saffiedine hard early in this round. Saffiedine, though, gets to his feet and ties Marquardt up against the cage. Marquardt turns the tide and is now holding Saffiedine against the cage, as Marquardt looks to drop for a takedown. The ref steps in with two minutes to go in the round and separates them. Head kick by Marquardt connects, and Saffiedine counters. Left-right combo by Marquardt, and Saffiedine counters. Small amount of swelling under the eye of Marquardt, and Saffiedine is feeling it with his kicks and punches now, landing a combo. Marquardt shoots in and Saffiedine sprawls, avoiding the takedown. Saffiedine drops Marquardt again to finish the round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Saffiedine

Round 3: Saffiedine comes right out and meets Marquardt at the center. Spinning back kick misses by Saffiedine, and Marquardt counters. Another combo by Saffiedine connects, as he appears to have the range and timing figured out. Clinch again and more knees exchanged by the two. Marquardt throws a flying knee, but Saffiedine blocks it. Saffiedine comes right into Marquardt, pressing him against the cage. Dan Henderson shouting out instructions to Saffiedine, who eats a quick strike that has him hurt. More kicks land by Saffiedine, and Marquardt fires off a combo of his own. Right from Saffiedine and they clinch up again. Marquardt looks worse for wear as the round winds down, while Saffiedine appears fresh and ready to go. A trio of leg kicks connect by Saffiedine, as Marquardt is hobbling a bit now and his thigh is bruised.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Saffiedine

Round 4: Again, Saffiedine charges right out at Marquardt. Jabs, kicks, jabs and kicks by Saffiedine all land. Back to working the lead leg of Marquardt by Saffiedine, who lands a spinning elbow. The two are now engaged and standing toe-to-toe, as Saffiedine continues to damage the leg of Marquardt with kicks to the thighs. Saffiedine nearly has Marquardt down to one leg right now, but Marquardt is still pushing forward. Overhand right by Marquardt misses. Saffiedine lands a strike and Marquardt has blood coming from the eye area. Saffiedine has picked Marquardt apart, and is definitely looking like not only a champion, but a strong contender in the UFC. Uppercut by Marquardt and answered by a pair of kicks to the leg of Marquardt.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Saffiedine

Round 5: Saffiedine lets out a scream to start the final round, as Marquardt looks ready to exit the cage. Big left by Marquardt lands, who has to feel like he is behind on the scorecards. Head kick by Saffiedine connects, and he goes right back to working the leg. Uppercut by Saffiedine gets through. More kicks to that damaged lead leg. Straight right lands by Saffiedine as Marquardt goes to block a kick that isn’t thrown. Two minutes left and this is all Saffiedine. Saffiedine still going for the finish, coming right in and attacking Marquardt with 90 seconds left. Saffiedine scores a takedown, sealing the victory with some nice elbows to the face. Saffiedine’s teammate, Henderson, screams at him to finish the fight, as he goes all out and the bell sounds.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Saffiedine

Tarec Saffiedine def. Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) to become the Strikeforce welterweight champion