by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Greg Jackson disciple Nate Marquardt exploited a gap in footwork and conditioning to secure his seventh victory in the UFC on Saturday.
His opponent, Wilson Gouveia, a transplant to the middleweight division as of last year, ran short on gas in the third and was unable to stop a flying knee that was the beginning of the fight’s end.
If Marquardt looked more equipped to handle a three-round slugfest on Saturday, he took his lesson from Anderson Silva.
“I’ve changed my conditioning after I fought for the title,” said the 29-year-old fighter, who suffered a first-round blowout by the Brazilian champion at UFC 73. “I’ve got a great strength and conditioning coach, John Chambers. I felt great.
“Even when I’m tired in the third round, or whenever, I still feel explosive. I still feel I can move quickly and I have the knockout power in the hands.”
Of course, it was more than just his hands that sealed Gouveia’s fate. After landing the knee flush, Marquardt knocked the American Top Team product across the cage with a trio of high kicks, the last followed by a 45-degree spinning backfist. Gouveia sat in concession when another knee met his head.
The sequence was not unlike something the champ would cook up.
“The funny thing is I started in Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – full contact Karate – so I have a lot of stuff in my background where I’m able to pull from, like the spinning back fist,” said Marquardt at UFC 95’s post-fight presser. “And I’ve been working a lot of Muay Thai with a British guy, James McSweeney, and it’s helping me out a lot. I felt very good on my feet.”
The win was Marquardt’s second straight since UFC 85, where repeated fouls cost him a victory over current contender Thales Leites. In his previous bout at UFC 88, he sent prospect Martin Kampmann to the welterweight division after dispatching the Danish fighter with a high kick and punches. Marquardt racked up four straight victories prior to his first bout with Silva.
Another prospect, undefeated jiu-jitsu phenom Demian Maia, appears poised for a contender bout to determine the challenger to the winner of Silva vs. Leites at UFC 97. Marquardt wants another chance to prove himself at the highest level, now that conditioning is a lesser concern. But if another Brazilian stands in his way, he will welcome a last test.
“I think my last three or four fights have shown that I deserve a title shot, but if I need to face Demian (Maia) first, that would be great,” said Marquardt.