The Great Not Looking Past Palhares
As "Nate The Great" enters the octagon for the 41st time in his professional career on September 15th, it won't be the first time he is facing a certain amount of adversity after a tough fought loss, the most recent coming at the hands of Chael Sonnen.
Before that, there was the split decision loss to Thales Leites that shocked everyone, probably even Leites himself.
And you couldn't have this conversation without bringing up the Pancrase loss to Ricardo Almeida and ensuing brawl that is now legendary in the grappling world.
The 7 time Pancrase champion has been around the block too many times for any regrets in this stage of his career though, and looks to finish Palhares in a dominating fashion using his wrestling to counter Palhares potent submission attacks.
Marquardt will be in familiar territory as he headlines UFC Fight Night 22, being no stranger to the big fight's that can alter the path of a career in a split second. Marquardt will be looking to get back in the win column after the Sonnen loss, as he aims to remind people who the fighter is that they call "Nate the Great."
The broadcast is one that really benefits fans, as we get a PPV type main-event on regular cable TV. Something that has become the norm now with Versus getting it's hands on the golden goose that is MMA.
Is Marquardt overlooking Palhares? Did he overlook Sonnen?
"I wouldn't say I overlooked Chael Sonnen, but he's definitely better than I thought he was going to be. Not only that, but I didn't follow our game plan. When you fight a wrestler there's a certain way to fight them, and I pretty much did the exact opposite."
Is Marquardt falling prey to fighting a lesser known fighter, thinking about his next title shot? Does he realize the danger Palhares brings to the table?
"Not looking past Palhares, but winning this fight I'm gonna want a top guy," he said. "My goal is to get a title shot. I think I'm gonna have to beat one of those guys [Belfort or Okami] or maybe a Wanderlei Silva to get that shot."
Marquardt realizes he is going to have to capitalize on the opportunity if he manages to get his second shot at Silva, who could be on his way up to 205 based on his current run at 185. We see where Rich Franklin is in the 185 mix after 2 losses to Anderson.
Marquardt recently spoke on the topic of what he might have learned from the Sonnen vs. Silva fight, which like us all, was surprising in a few different ways.
"The only thing that surprised me about the fight was that Anderson didn't use more footwork to [avoid] Chael's takedowns," he said. "I knew Chael was a much better wrestler and as soon as he got his hands on Silva that he would be able to take him down pretty much at will.
"The fact that he got triangled at the end really wasn't a big surprise either, because he's been triangled several times in his career, and he's kind of anti-learning jiu-jitsu."
A hard headed life-long wrestler from Team Quest being anti jiu-jitsu? I don't believe it...
Palhares is a respected grappler in his own right, with 9 of his 11 pro wins coming by submission, and a liking for finishing opponents via viscous heel hooks. Ask Thomas Drwal about that.
Not a problem for Marquardt who has made a living out of submission defense and subsequent ground and pound.
"I'm expecting him to be a great wrestler when it comes to his takedowns," Marquardt said. "If he shows up with anything less than that it'll be an easy night. But if he shows up with good takedowns I'll be able to display that I have good takedown defense. I'll have him on the bottom if he pulls guard or whatever and be able to work my ground and pound from there. But who knows? He could be a completely different fighter when I fight him."
With his own laundry list of grappling accomplishments, Marquardt is not worried about getting caught in a submission by Palhares.
"That's his style. He likes to work those submissions, but I'm ready to defend those submissions with everything I have. I'm not letting him catch me in anything. I heard he's working very hard on his wrestling."
UFC title shot number 2 for "The Great" coming to a town near you?
"I have skills in all areas," he said. "It doesn't matter if they're a wrestler, I can take them down. Or if they're a grappler, I can go for a submission on them. Whatever it is, I need a mixture where I utilize all my skills."
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