Nate Marquardt Dan Miller UFC 128After being out of the cage for the better part of a year and a half, Nate Marquardt returned in successful fashion on Saturday night, winning the vacant welterweight championship at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy in Portland, Ore.

Tyrone Woodley didn’t make it easy for Marquardt, however, opening the fight showing blazing hand speed. He rocked Marquardt with a right hand behind the ear, putting him on the mat early. Marquardt eventually worked his way back to his feet, quickly recovering and taking over the fight.

It wasn’t a one-sided fight by any means, but after the initial scare, Marquardt took control, getting the better of Woodley in most of their striking exchanges due to a wider variety of strikes and better timing.

Marquardt was extremely aggressive in the second round, chopping at Woodley’s legs with powerful low kicks that would slow him later in the fight.

Woodley wasn’t done though, dropping Marquardt again in the third round. He followed with strong ground and pound, but Marquardt used his savvy to remain calm and tied Woodley up, forcing a restart on the feet.

Things went south quickly for Woodley in round four, however. Marquardt backed him up against the fence and brought about a fast finish, unleashing a three-part series of cutting elbows followed by left and right uppercuts, knocking Woodley out, securing the Strikeforce welterweight title.

“T-Wood is a tough dude man,” remarked Marquardt after the fight, showing a ton of respect for his opponent. “T-Wood you have a family like I do man, you’re a champion every day.”

He reiterated much the same sentiment about himself when asked about becoming the champion.

“Like I said, I have a wife and kids, I’m a champion every day.”

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