Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine took place January 12, 2013 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK. Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt (32-11-1) put his belt on the line against homegrown prospect Tarec Saffiedine (14-3) in the night's featured bout. Catch the video highlights above.
For more on Strikeforce's sendoff show, check out play-by-play of the main event from yours truly.
Round 1: Big John McCarthy is our referee for the final fight in Strikeforce history. Saffiedine opens with a leg kick. Saffiedine switches stances and checks a kick. Marquardt connects with his own leg kick. Short right hand briefly drops Marquardt. Marquardt locks up only to find his back against the cage. Big shot lands for Marquardt on the break. Saffiedine evades a front kick. Switch kick misses for Marquadt. Saffiedine slips a right hand, ties up and unloads a few knees to the body. Marquardt answers with a few knees of his own. Faint boos start to rain down from the crowd. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Saffiedine.
Round 2: Neither fighter seems willing to engage early. Marquardt paws out his jab. Marquardt catches a kick and sweeps Saffiedine to the mat. Saffiedine pops back to his feet then ties up Marquardt against the fence. Marquardt reverses. Sick of inaction, McCarthy separates the fighters. Head kick just misses for Saffiedine. Saffiedine eats a straight right but answers with a snapping leg kick, and another. Marquardt changes levels and shoots for a double, but Saffiedine defends. Another exchange ends the round, with neither fighter landing cleanly. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Saffiedine.
Round 3: Spinning back kick misses for Saffiedine. Marquardt swings wildly with an overhand right. Marquardt muscles Saffiedine up against the fence. Saffiedine squirms out and reverses, but only briefly. More boos from the crowd. Flying knee misses its mark for Marquardt. A short right out of the break stumbles Saffiedine, but he recovers quick enough to throw out a pair of leg kicks. Saffiedine is picking Marquardt apart at range. More leg kicks crush the lead leg of Marquardt, which is turning a bright shade of red. Marquardt just can't put any offense together. Saffiedine defends a takedown at the horn.MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Saffiedine.
Round 4: Saffiedine comes out aggressive. Marquardt presses forward with a combination. Straight right connects for the champ. Saffiedine misses wildly with a spinning back elbow. Saffiedine is just chopping down Marquardt's lead leg. More leg kicks. Another one buckles Marquardt. And another one. Shades of Aldo-Faber here. Looping right misses for Saffiedine. Marquardt finally catches a low kick but can't capitalize. Another leg kick. Marquardt is limping. Huge shot from Saffiedine, and Marquardt ties up. Saffiedine working knees from the clinch but nothing lands flush. Another pair of leg kicks crush into Marquardt's lead leg. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Saffiedine.
Round 5: And it all comes down to this, the final round in Strikeforce history. Saffiedine circles around the center of the cage. Marquardt ducks under a jab. Saffiedine finds a home for another leg kick. Saffiedine pressures Marquardt against the fence. Saffiedine working body shots from the clinch. Saffiedine backs up and tosses out another leg kick. Marquardt's left thigh is completely ruined at this point. This fight is all Saffiedine. Marquardt ties up, but is reversed and nearly eats a knee for his troubles. Another leg kick. Saffiedine changes levels and slams Marquardt to the canvas, landing in half guard. Saffiedine pouring it on as the final horn cuts through the air. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Saffiedine.
Tarec Saffiedine def. Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)