The resurrection of Nate Marquardt is complete.
The former UFC contender reinvented himself as a Strikeforce welterweight, and now he can add "champion" to his list of descriptors after knocking out Tyron Woodley at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy.
Marquardt let out his pent-up frustration with a vicious fourth-round finish. It was a standing elbow strike that rocked Woodley first, and he followed with a series of monster strikes that sent Woodley crashing to the ground, slumped against the cage. Marquardt knew the fight was over and began walking away before the referee even stepped in, celebrating with a handstand/backflip combination.
The finish came at 1:39 of the round.
It is Marquardt's first championship since holding the Pancrase crown back in 2005.
"It's a dream come true," said Marquardt. "But when I go home to my family, I'm a champ every day."
The first round was action-packed, with both men landing huge strikes early on. Woodley scored first with a solid right that staggered Marquardt. Not long afterward, Marquardt answered as Woodley turned to a southpaw stance, and hurt him with a right that sent Woodley to the mat.
The second was mostly a kickboxing contest, with Marquardt the aggressor taking the center of the cage. Marquardt landed the crisper, cleaner shots and likely sealed the round with a late takedown.
It seemed at that point that Marquardt had the momentum to stay, but Woodley came out with an explosion to begin the third, backing Marquardt up and dropping him with a right hand behind the ear. Woodley unloaded in hunting a finish, but the savvy Marquardt was able to tie him up and survive the onslaught.
It turned out that it was Woodley's last stand, as Marquardt finished things off in the fourth.
"I tell you what, T-Wood is one tough dude," he said. "He was a lot more game when I started catching him than I thought. He's one tough dude."
Marquardt hadn't fought since March 2011 after being suspended due to an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone level. He was subsequently fired by the UFC. Afterward, he revealed that he had been on testosterone replacement therapy.
In his first fight back, Marquardt said he was no longer on the treatment, but won without it.
The new Strikeforce welterweight champion is now 32-10-2.
Woodley lost for the first time in his career, dropping to 10-1.