Live coverage of Strikeforce: Kennedy vs. Rockhold in Portland Oregon continues as we head into the title fights. First up, for the vacant Welterweight Championship, the undefeated Tyron Woodley meets longtime veteran Nate Marquardt, making his long awaited Strikeforce debut, and fighting for the first time in over a year.
Blue Corner: Nate Marquardt (34-10-2, Strikeforce Debut) vs. Red Corner: Tyron Woodley (10-0-0, 8-0-0 Strikeforce)
Marquardt receives one of the largest ovations of the night. Woodley comes in wearing the colors of his native American Top Team. Woodley catches Marquardt early and takes him to the cage, where they exchanges knees in the clinch. As the fight comes to the center, Marquardt rocks Woodley, and looks to sink in a guillotine bfore they stand up. Marquardt again catches Woodley before it slows down into a clinch. The rest of the round is spent going back and forth, and sends the crowd to its feet when the horn sounds. Great, action packed first round.
The second round opens up with Woodley cautious initially, but then he lands some big shots on Marquardt. The rest of the first half of the round is spent exchanging blows, with neither fighter going into clinches or attempting takedowns like the first round. The crowd reacts huge to a spinning kick thrown by Marqyardt, and then Marquardt lands a huge takedown which rattles the cage. The round ends with Marquardt catching Woodley with some big shots, who hangs tough to the end.
Woodley explodes out of the gate in round three, catching Marquardt with some big shots, knocking him down much to the crowd’s delight. Marquardt eats some big shots from the bottom, but works toward an attempted armbar. A scramble finds Woodley on top. Following a suspect standup by the referee, both fighters exchange from the outside for the next two minutes. Marquardt backs Woodley into the cage with 45 seconds left, and that’s where it ends, with Marquardt pushing the pace till the end. Into the championship rounds we go.
The fourth round starts with Marquardt attempting to land body shots before peppering Woodley into the cage with a couple shots. Eventually they end on the far side where Marquardt catches Woodley with numerous shots and knocks him out with a series of vicious shots. What a finish to a fantastic back and forth fight.
Winner: Nate Marquardt def. Tyron Woodley via KO (1:39 Round 4)