Strikeforce has delivered plenty of action to fans over the course of its seven-year run. On Saturday night, the welterweight division was on display in the promotion's final fight.
Although oddsmakers didn't seem to give much hope to the underdogs on Saturday night, title contender Tarec Saffiedine showed fans why you can't put too much stock in what Las Vegas thinks.
Through five rounds of action, Saffiedine used superior speed and conditioning to produce an all-out assault on champion Nate Marquardt.
With his conditioning failing him, Marquardt wasn't quick enough to avoid the seemingly endless supply of leg kicks that Saffiedine delivered round after round.
It was a much-deserved exclamation point in the final chapter of Strikeforce.
What we'll remember about this fight
The emergence of Tarec Saffiedine as a new star in MMA. Spending much of the fight chopping down Marquardt with devastating leg kicks, Saffiedine painted a red and purple canvas on the thigh of "Nate the Great."
What we learned about Nate Marquardt
That the weight cut might be too much for the former middleweight contender. In the third round, Marquardt breathed deeply as he continued slowing down.
Additionally, we learned that Marquardt apparently forgot how to defend leg kicks. When he was eating 15 of them in Round 4, it became easy to confuse Marquardt's thigh with ground beef.
What we learned about Tarec Saffiedine
Despite his lack of notoriety and underdog status, he is deserving of competing with the best welterweights on the planet. The fact that he was able to pick apart a seasoned veteran like Marquardt is impressive enough, but getting to enter the UFC as the final Strikeforce welterweight champion puts that statement in bold.
What's next for Nate Marquardt
With connections to Tristar Gym and a quality name, Marquardt will likely be offered a UFC contract. However, that is far from a given considering the unceremonious release that Marquardt suffered in 2011.
If he arrives in the UFC later this year, Marquardt should not be awarded a bout against a contender. This loss drops Nate considerably in the ranks. Perhaps the ill-fated Nate Marquardt vs. Rick Story fight could see the light of day after all.
What's next for Tarec Saffiedine
Entering the UFC as the reigning Strikeforce champion is a major feather in his cap, although Saffiedine should not be thrust immediately into the title scene. After all, champion Georges St-Pierre is currently scheduled to meet Nick Diaz before likely defending his belt against the winner of Johny Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger.
A fight with a ranked opponent is a must. Although I don't care for his chances, perhaps a fight against the winner of Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia is in order.
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