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UFC 122: Yushin Okami Beats Nate Marquardt by Unanimous Decision

In a hard-fought, hard-to-judge main event at UFC 122, Yushin Okami defeated Nate Marquardt by unanimous decision.

"Nate is a great fighter, but I thought I deserved it," Okami said afterward, through his translator. "I'm ready for the championship."

UFC President Dana White has said Okami will get that shot, after champion Anderson Silva takes on Vitor Belfort in February. Okami was the last man to beat Silva, winning by disqualification in 2006 when Silva illegally kicked him in the head on the ground, and both of them have said in the past that they want to settle the score. If Silva beats Belfort they'll finally do it.

In the early going on Saturday, Okami shot for a takedown, but Marquardt ended up on top and seemed to be in control. However, Marquardt took a big chance, tried for a guillotine choke, and ended up on the bottom when Okami slipped out of it. After a scramble they wound up back on their feet with 90 seconds to go in the first round and traded strikes briefly before going back to the ground, with Okami finishing the round on top.

After a bit of a stalemate standing up at the start of the second, Marquardt caught Okami off balance and took him to the ground, landing on top with more than three minutes to go in the round. Marquardt wasn't able to do anything with his dominant position, however, and Okami worked his way back up to his feet. Both fighters looked tentative and cautious in the stand-up, and the German fans started to boo late in the round. Marquardt landed a hard right hand with about 30 seconds left in the round, which was the only significant strike of the second.

Okami started to land jabs and combinations in the third round, and he spent much of the third on the attack, backing Marquardt up. With 90 seconds left in the fight, Marquardt went for a takedown and got it, ending up on top of Okami on the ground. But Okami had no trouble at all shrugging Marquardt off and getting back to his feet. That's where the fight ended, with Okami and Marquardt trading punches, and neither having done enough to be confident in the judges' decision.

The judges, however, all saw it for Okami: One scored it 30-27, while two scored it 29-28. The win improves Okami's pro record to 26-5, while Marquardt falls to 30-10-2.

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