Tarec Saffiedine Batters Nate Marquardt to Win in Final Strikeforce Fight Ever

January 13, 2013
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Strikeforce officially came to a close on Saturday night, and it really was a storybook ending with one of the fighters who had been with the promotion for the past three years walking away with the title in the organization’s final fight ever.

It was four years ago that a 22-year old kid from Belgium moved to the United States with a dream of becoming a champion, and Tarec Saffiedine saw those dreams become reality as he battered and bested Nate Marquardt to win the last ever Strikeforce title.

Training at Team Quest since arriving in the States, Saffiedine first came to Strikeforce as part of their developmental series called Strikeforce Challengers before working his way to the main cards on Showtime more than a year and a half later.

So with Strikeforce on its way out, Saffiedine got the title shot he had longed for as he faced former UFC middleweight contender Nate Marquardt in the main event on Saturday night.

Coming into the fight, Saffiedine was a decided underdog, but he certainly didn’t perform that way and came after Marquardt with sheer determination from the opening bell.

A kickboxer by trade, Saffiedine showed off his skills as he cracked Marquardt early with a quick strike that dropped the former UFC contender, setting the stage for what was about to happen for the entire 25-minute fight.

Saffiedine unloaded a barrage of leg kicks on Marquardt that made his leg as many different colors as on a painter’s palette. Time and time again, Saffiedine swung his leg, blasting Marquardt’s unguarded thigh and with each one landed the Colorado native slowed down just a little bit more.

“I’ve been training so hard, for so long, and my kicks are one of my best weapons. I trained them a lot in training, so that was kind of the game plan,” Saffiedine said about the leg kicks.

As the rounds wore on, Marquardt’s cardio started to backfire as well and with his mouth gaped open begging for oxygen, his last ditch effort to head to the UFC later this year on a win faded away.

Saffiedine only gained strength when seeing Marquardt fading, and continued to attack his leg with kick after kick until it was a bruised and beaten mess.

The final horn sounded and Tarec Saffiedine knew that he had just captured the gold he longed for so long to hold.

“It’s unbelievable. I can’t imagine I’m wearing the belt right now, it’s unreal,” Saffiedine said after winning the unanimous decision. “I want to thank Strikeforce for being by my side for so long.”

Just a few days ago, Tarec Saffiedine wasn’t even sure he’d be in the UFC after tonight, but with his win over Nate Marquardt in impressive fashion he’s punched his ticket and given himself a lot of momentum as he heads into the welterweight division later this year.

There’s also a cloud of disappointment overhead for Nate Marquardt, who was talked about all week as a legitimate contender at 170lbs with conversations already putting him in the race for a title shot once he arrived in the UFC. Now with this loss, Marquardt will need to regroup and recover before trying to find his footing in one of the toughest weight classes in the UFC.

(photo by Ester Lin/Strikeforce/Showtime)

  • jimmy

    nate will get killed if he fights like that in ufc.not even close to top 10!!!!!!!!1

  • Stefano ‘Zwonimir’ Sega Nogaro

    great Tarec, he merged the european kickboxing skills with a great TDD …
    UFC WW is full of elite wrestlers so could be hard for him to has a career there, but I think he can handle Kampmann, Condit and others top fighters …

    he could become a star in Asia if he move to One FC …

  • Sam

    The fight sucked Nate didn’t do anything the other guy just threw leg kicks the whole time boring enjoy your belt for 5 seconds idiot

    • Oswald Cobblepott

      Boo hoo my guy got embarrassed! Marquardt always looks bad in big fights, he is a B list fighter. Saffedine = respect due!

    • Anthony Lopez

      Yes it was boring…. if you don’t like kickboxing

      • Sam

        More like kick with out the boxing glad I didn’t pay for that fight zzzzzzzzzz

  • Joe

    Marquardt is the Tony Romo of mma. Whenever the pressure is on he crumbles, plain an simple

  • drkdisciple

    With that performance he doesn’t have to worry about ever fighting his team-mate GSP.

  • Maddawgmar

    This guy will not do to we’ll against the elite. Marquardt is a mid-tier fighter at best. His best years are way behind him. Tarec has no killer instinct, and his takedown defense has yet to be tested. If an actual wrestler gets in the cage with him he’ll get smashed. Kos, Rory, Fitch, Even Ellenberger puts him on his back with ease. I’d say Hendricks too, but he’d just KHTFO.

    • brian stevens

      I’m not saying Saffiedine would beat any of those guys, but you don’t know what you are talking about. Marquardt is a very good mma wrestler and Tyron Woodley is an elite wrestler in mma. So its not like Saffiedine hasn’t fought wrestlers and the guy is only 26. Saffiedine put on a clinic in there and dismantled a guy who has been around and fought the best in the business.

      • Advance*

        Saffiedine was impressive, but he lost to Woodley and Marquardt isn’t really a good offensive wrestler, so those aren’t the best examples. I don’t think he was aggressive enough on the feet and didn’t really take over until it was obvious that Nate’s leg was messed up. He’s not going to have 5 rounds to beat up people’s legs like that

        • brian stevens

          I agree with you he wasn’t aggressive enough. there were times that i felt he could have finished or at least put nate on his back. The Woodley and Marquardt references were just to point out that he has fought wrestlers. Madawgmar had stated that his takedown defense hadn’t been tested. It was and he failed. I’m just saying we have something to measure his future performances on and he is young. To guess what kind of progression he’ll make going further is silly. Everyone wrote him off in this fight and that was obviously a big mistake.

          • Advance*

            I agree with that. Plus other than GSP and Fitch, there’s not too many UFC welterweights that will pursue the takedown as aggressively as Woodley. I’d be more worried about his lack of finishing ability than his takedown defense. There’s only so many times you can go three rounds with the toughest guys without getting caught.

    • kbroesq

      I think Saffiedine will do good in the UFC. Marquardt is a legit fighter. He’s out of the UFC because of the steroid thing, not because he was losing. Bringing up the fight with Woodley, in my opinion, just shows Saffiedine can beat guys in the UFC. Woodley, at least in that fight, laid on top of Saffiedine and took no chances to allow him to get up. That’s what Woodley does. Woodley is not a complete mma fighter, but I’m sure his take downs are on par with the guys in the UFC.