by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Middleweights Nate Marquardt and Chael Sonnen went into the UFC Octagon on Saturday with a title shot looming on the horizon for the winner.
Marquardt was the favorite going in and widely considered the second ranked middleweight in the world, but Sonnen continued his winning streak by pulling the upset and gaining a title shot with his UFC 109 unanimous decision victory against the winner of Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort that main events UFC 112 on April 10 in Abu Dhabi.
Sonnen dominated the first two rounds with takedowns and wrestling. Marquardt was unable to get off his back, but in the second round did land an elbow that hurt and opened up a cut on Sonnen.
“He hurt me early on even when I was on top. I was hurt from the first round. I just had to hang in there,” Sonnen said after the fight.
Concerned about the cut, Sonnen pressed on, imposing his well on Marquardt until the final moments.
“I was scared that (the cut) was going to stop the fight,” added the Team Quest trained athlete.
In the final moment of the bout, Marquardt gained momentum, applying a guillotine choke that had Sonnen’s face a shade of red only a choke can produce.
Asked how close Marquardt was to getting the submission, Sonnen replied, “It was very tight. I was hanging in there. I was even counting the seconds down in my head hoping he’d let go.”
For Marquardt, it was a set back in his mission to get back to a title shot.
“I’ll be back. I still want that title. I fell I’m the man to do it. Chael’s a tough guy,” said the Team Jackson’s trained Marquardt.
“I think I just executed my game plan the wrong way,” Marquardt told those in attendance following the loss. “I’m really sorry to all my fans and teammates and stuff. I really don’t think I should have lost that fight.”
Looking toward his impending title shot, Sonnen said, “I think I can beat any man God ever made.”