Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl
Germany UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami didn’t exactly bring the thunder, but the durable Japanese brute did outmatch the highly respected Nate Marquardt over the course of their 15-minute affair.
In a contest arranged to determine the next challenger to the UFC’s middleweight crown, Okami stifled Marquardt for three rounds and was awarded a unanimous-decision victory.
The bout served as the main event for Saturday’s “UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami,” which took place Saturday at Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, and aired via same-day tape delay in the U.S.
The opening round saw Marquardt establish top position early after stuffing an Okami takedown attempt. The advantage would be short-lived after Okami was able to pull free from a Marquardt guillotine-choke attempt and take his turn in the dominant position.
There was little action on the floor, and Okami elected to return to feet. On the way, he evaded Marquardt’s attempt to finish the fight with a leglock. After some brief exchanges on the feet and in the clinch, Okami scored a late takedown that appeared to help him seal the round.
The second-round was equally well-matched with each fighter looking to take the other to the canvas. Okami was driven to a sitting position briefly, but neither was able to work to an advantageous position. A flurry in the final seconds saw both fighters land significant strikes, though it seemed to favor Marquardt slightly, and it appeared the fight would be decided in the final frame.
With the grappling game proving a relative stalemate, Okami turned to his much-improved striking skills in the final frame, and the gamble paid off.
Working a stiff jab, Okami cut Marquardt and grabbed the momentum. Marquardt wouldn’t go away quietly, and he stood and traded in the pocket while also mixing in a successful takedown. However, Okami popped right back up and resumed his punching pursuit. When the final bell sounded, Okami was awarded a unanimous-decision win, with scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28.
Prior to the fight, UFC president Dana White promised the winner of the UFC 122 matchup a shot at the middleweight title, and Okami will now wait for the winner of a February bout between current champ Anderson Silva and top contender Vitor Belfort.
Okami (26-5 MMA, 10-2 UFC), who has won six of his past seven fights, owns a 2006 win over Silva, though it came via technicality after “The Spider” was disqualified for landing an illegal upkick from which his opponent could not continue.
Meanwhile, Marquardt (30-10-2 MMA, 9-4 UFC) must go back to the drawing board once again after dropping a No. 1 contender fight for the second time in his past three trips to the cage.
Siver wows countrymen in first-round stoppage
While UFC middleweight sluggers Jorge Rivera and Alessio Sakara were expected to meet in the evening’s co-main event, the Italian boxer was forced to withdraw from the event at that last moment after suffering flu-like symptoms. UFC officials said Sakara wanted to compete despite his condition, but the promotion was forced to pull the fighter when he was vomiting backstage mere hours before he was scheduled to compete.
To fill the role, the UFC turned to lightweight bangers Dennis Siver and Andre Winner, who were expected to deliver fireworks. In the end, it was the German native who provided the fight’s highlights.
After a few brief exchanges on the feet, Winner leaped in to strike, but Siver delivered a perfectly timed counter-left to the chin, and Winner hit the deck. Siver looked as if he’s finish the fight with his fists as a right scored to Winner’s dome on the way to the floor, and the ground and pound came hard and heavy. Referee Kevin Mulhall gave Winner every chance to recover, and Sive switched to plan B.
In a slick transition indicative of Siver’s abilities as a complete mixed martial artist, the German used his left leg to trap Winner’s left arm and transitioned around to his opponent’s back with both hooks firmly in place. The rear-naked choke was applied instantly, and Winner’s fate was sealed.
The Brit relented as long as possible in the precarious position, but he was forced to submit at the 3:37 mark of the opening round.
After starting his UFC career 1-3, the streaking Siver (17-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC) is now 6-1 in his past seven overall outings. Winner (11-5-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has now dropped two-straight fights.
Sadollah outpoints Sobotta
Welterweight prospects Amir Sadollah and Peter Sobotta were each looking to return to the win column after recent setbacks, but in the opening minutes, it became clear who would walk away with their hand raised.
The winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 7,” Sadollah’s vaunted Muay Thai attack was simply too much for Sobotta over the course of 15 minutes.
Sobotta’s best opportunity to change the flow of the fight may have been in the opening round when he was nearly able to take the back in a scramble on the feet. But Sadollah patiently peeled Sobotta off his back and resumed his striking approach.
Sabotta remained game in his counter-attack, but the quality and volume of the standup fell to Sadollah. A moderate-paced matchup throughout, the victor was clear at the final bell, and Sadollah was correctly awarded the unanimous decision with a clean sweep of all three rounds.
Despite remaining in control throughout, Sadollah praised his opponent’s effort.
“He’s a super-tough guy and definitely on his way up,” Sadollah said.
Sadollah (4-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) has now earned victory in three of his past four fights. Sobotta (8-4 MMA, 0-3 UFC) is winless in three trips to the octagon and is likely facing a release.
Soszynski overpowers Reljic in gritty three-rounder
Sporting a history of tough three-round contests, light heavyweights Krzysztof Soszynski and Goran Reljic didn’t fail to live up to their reputations.
The opening round saw Soszynski moving forward for most of the frame with an impressive mix of low kicks and stiff punches, including a left that staggered Reljic briefly. Sensing he was falling behind on the feet, Reljic scores a successful takedown yet it was Soszynski who went on the attack from his back by immediately looking for a kimura.
Reljic survived, but he could do nothing from the top other than defend.
The second frame proved more of a stalemate. Reljic nailed an early takedown, but his respect for Soszynski’s submission skills left him unable to commit to an attack. When returned to the feet by the referee, the two were left jockeying for position in the clinch.
With the fight potentially in the balance in the final frame, Soszynski turned up the heat. Reljic again tried for the takedown, but Soszynski stuffed the attempt. Reljic tried to roll for a knee, but Soszynski pulled free. When Reljic returned to his feet, he was staggering sightly and visibly fatigued.
Soszynski poured on the attack in the closing minutes by delivering several heavy ground-and-pound blows when Reljic willingly dropped to his back to avoid being blasted with a knee. Reljic covered well, but Soszynski still found his mark on occasion. When the final bell sounded, Soszynski was awarded a unanimous-decision win, 30-27 on all three judges’ cards.
“That boy is tough,” Soszynski said following the win. “You never what the judges are going to score. â€¦ I think that third round sealed the deal for me.”
With the win, Soszynski (25-11-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) rebounds successfully from a disappointing loss to Stephan Bonnar in July. Meanwhile, a gritty Reljic (8-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC) loses for the third time in three outings and faces a likely release from the promotion.
Ludwig outlasts Ospipczak to earn split
The evening’s first televised contest featured welterweights Duane “Bang” Ludwig and Nick Osipczak. Promoted to the main card following the cancellation of the Rivera vs. Sakara matchup, the two fighters started went toe-to-toe for 15 minutes in what would end up a split-decision affair.
Osipczak took clear control of the first frame by rocking Ludwig on the feet and grinding away from top position on the ground. The exchanges left Ludwig’s brow bleeding, and he seemed to be facing an uphill battle against the larger Osipczak.
The second round proved tougher to score. The two traded shots on the feet, and Ludwig seemed to be edging out his foe slightly in the standup. Osipczak looked to reverse that momentum with a takedown, though he couldn’t truly capitalize on the position and referee Marc Goddard returned the pair to the feet. MMAjunkie.com scores the round in Osipczak’s favor, but the edge was slight, at best.
After briefly starting the final round without his mouthpiece, Osipczak slowed considerable in the final five minutes. He retreated for much of the round with his hands down by his side. Unfortunately for Ludwig, he couldn’t land the necessary big bang. Knees and punches came in punches as Osipczak feebly covered up against the cage, but a tiring Ludwig simply couldn’t seal the deal.
Nevertheless, it appeared Osipczak may have done enough to take the fight. Only one judge agreed, and even that score was puzzling. Instead, Ludwig took the fight via split decision with scores of 28-29, 29-28 and 29-28.
The win was the first for Ludwig (20-11 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in the UFC since 2006. While impressive early in the matchup, Osipczak (5-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has now dropped three consecutive fights by decision, including two split results.
Yushin Okami def. Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Dennis Siver def. Andre Winner via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:37
Amir Sadollah def. Peter Sobotta via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Krzysztof Soszynski def. Goran Reljic by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Duane Ludwig vs. Nick Osipczak via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Vladimir Matyushenko def. Alexandre “Cacareco” Ferreira via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:20
Pascal Krauss def. Mark Scanlon via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Kyle Noke def. Rob Kimmons via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:33
Karlos Vemola def. Seth Petruzelli via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:46
Carlos Eduardo Rocha def. Kris McCray via submission (kneebar) – Round 1, 2:21