The main event of the final Strikeforce card witnessed the challenger beat a UFC veteran to win the promotion’s welterweight championship. Tarec Saffiedine (14-3) went all five rounds to secure a unanimous decision win over Nate Marquardt (32-11-2).
Many had doubted Saffiedine and believed he wasn’t a big enough name to compete for the welterweight championship. Saffiedine heard talk of Marquardt joining the UFC roster once again and possibility unifying the championship, but that didn’t stop the Belguim who flew his family in to witness the fight.
“I’m not a big name or whatever you need to be recognized,” said Saffiedine to MMA Fighting. “I guess I proved them wrong and it was motivation to prove everybody wrong. To beat the odds and beat someone like Nate and take his belt. I don’t know [if I’m going to the UFC]. I got to sit down and see what’s next for my career. I’m open to unifying.”
Saffiedine started his Strikeforce career on the challenge series picking up two wins in 2010 before losing to Tyron Woodley (10-1) in 2011. Woodley would challenge Marquardt unsuccessfully for the vacant welterweight title. Saffiedine bounced back with four wins, including his recent title win to become the promotion’s final welterweight champion. Since coming back from the loss, all of Saffiedine’s fights went to the judges.
“This was my goal for a very long time,” said Saffiedine. “This was my long term goal and it’s unbelievable to reach it, especially on the last Strikeforce event.”
Marquardt had been with the UFC for six years before being released unexpectedly due to elevated testosterone levels. Any issues between the UFC and Marquardt seemed to have been repaired.
The UFC has not made an official announcement regarding the future of either fighter.