Strikeforce officially came to a close on Saturday night, and it really was a storybook ending with one of the fighters who had been with the promotion for the past three years walking away with the title in the organization’s final fight ever.

It was four years ago that a 22-year old kid from Belgium moved to the United States with a dream of becoming a champion, and Tarec Saffiedine saw those dreams become reality as he battered and bested Nate Marquardt to win the last ever Strikeforce title.

Training at Team Quest since arriving in the States, Saffiedine first came to Strikeforce as part of their developmental series called Strikeforce Challengers before working his way to the main cards on Showtime more than a year and a half later.

So with Strikeforce on its way out, Saffiedine got the title shot he had longed for as he faced former UFC middleweight contender Nate Marquardt in the main event on Saturday night.

Coming into the fight, Saffiedine was a decided underdog, but he certainly didn’t perform that way and came after Marquardt with sheer determination from the opening bell.

A kickboxer by trade, Saffiedine showed off his skills as he cracked Marquardt early with a quick strike that dropped the former UFC contender, setting the stage for what was about to happen for the entire 25-minute fight.

Saffiedine unloaded a barrage of leg kicks on Marquardt that made his leg as many different colors as on a painter’s palette. Time and time again, Saffiedine swung his leg, blasting Marquardt’s unguarded thigh and with each one landed the Colorado native slowed down just a little bit more.

“I’ve been training so hard, for so long, and my kicks are one of my best weapons. I trained them a lot in training, so that was kind of the game plan,” Saffiedine said about the leg kicks.

As the rounds wore on, Marquardt’s cardio started to backfire as well and with his mouth gaped open begging for oxygen, his last ditch effort to head to the UFC later this year on a win faded away.

Saffiedine only gained strength when seeing Marquardt fading, and continued to attack his leg with kick after kick until it was a bruised and beaten mess.

The final horn sounded and Tarec Saffiedine knew that he had just captured the gold he longed for so long to hold.

“It’s unbelievable. I can’t imagine I’m wearing the belt right now, it’s unreal,” Saffiedine said after winning the unanimous decision. “I want to thank Strikeforce for being by my side for so long.”

Just a few days ago, Tarec Saffiedine wasn’t even sure he’d be in the UFC after tonight, but with his win over Nate Marquardt in impressive fashion he’s punched his ticket and given himself a lot of momentum as he heads into the welterweight division later this year.

There’s also a cloud of disappointment overhead for Nate Marquardt, who was talked about all week as a legitimate contender at 170lbs with conversations already putting him in the race for a title shot once he arrived in the UFC. Now with this loss, Marquardt will need to regroup and recover before trying to find his footing in one of the toughest weight classes in the UFC.

(photo by Ester Lin/Strikeforce/Showtime)

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova Weigh-in Video Replay

  • 23 days ago
  • 123 views

The sixteen fighters competing on the Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova fight card on Saturday officially weighed in at the Punishment Training Center on Friday. read news >>

Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova Weigh-In Results – Title Fights Officially Set

  • 23 days ago
  • 22 views

The fourteen female fighters competing on Saturday's Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova fight card officially weighed in on Friday in California. read news >>

UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz Weigh-in Video Replay

  • 22 days ago
  • 72 views

The 26 fighters competing on Sunday's UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz fight card in Boston officially weighed in at the Wang Theatre on Saturday. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 81 Weigh-in Results: Bantamweight Title Fight Officially Set

  • 22 days ago
  • 13 views

T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz are ready to headline the first ever FOX Sports 1 UFC Fight Night card to feature a championship bout following Saturday's weigh-ins. read news >>

BJ Penn Officially Ends UFC Retirement: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

  • 20 days ago
  • 22 views

UFC Hall of Famer and former two-division champion BJ Penn officially announced his return to the Octagon on Tuesday. Per an interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani (via MMAFighting's Shaun Al-S read news >>

Cain Velasquez apologizes for UFC 196 withdrawal: 'I can't ignore this injury'

  • 14 days ago
  • 171 views

After officially withdrawing from UFC 196 with a back injury, former UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez has issued an apology.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

UFC on FOX 18: Johnson vs. Bader Weigh-In Video Replay

  • 9 days ago
  • 63 views

The 26 fighters competing on the UFC on FOX 18: Johnson vs. Bader fight card on Saturday officially weighed in on Friday at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. read news >>

UFC on FOX 18 results: Tarec Saffiedine outworks Jake Ellenberger for decision

  • 8 days ago
  • 2 views

NEWARK, N.J. – For a fight that was a year in the making, the match-up between Tarec Saffiedine and Jake Ellenberger seemed a bit past its expiration date by the time the two made it into the cage to read news >>

UFC on Fox 18 Immediate Recap: Tarec Saffiedine Takes Decision over Ellenberger

  • 8 days ago
  • 4 views

After a 15-month hiatus, No. 11-ranked welterweight Tarec Saffiedine returned to the Octagon and faced Jake Ellenberger. After a three-round battle that saw Saffiedine rocked a couple of times, his p read news >>

14-Fight UFC Veteran Benson Henderson Jumps Ship for Bellator

  • 7 days ago
  • 7 views

The MMA free-agency game has officially changed with the announcement that former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson is joining Bellator MMA. Henderson officially broke the news on his read news >>