OBERHAUSEN, November 13 – Japan’s Yushin Okami has earned a shot at the world middleweight championship after a close three round unanimous decision victory over perennial contender Nate Marquardt in the UFC 122 main event at Konig Pilsener Arena on Saturday.
“Nate was a great fighter,” said Okami. “I’m ready for the championship.”
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28.
Okami shot first, looking for an early takedown, but Marquardt fought it off with a brief guillotine choke attempt before working his way into his opponent’s guard. Okami’s defense was airtight, and a second, even briefer, guillotine attempt allowed the Kanagawa native to get into the top position. From there, it was a stalemate and the two scrambled to their feet. Marquardt landed with a quick right as Okami shot in, but ‘Thunder’ was unmoved by the shot and he proceeded to pin Marquardt against the fence before taking him down just before the bell.
Marquardt threw Okami’s first takedown attempt of the second round aside easily, but his retaliatory single leg attempt came up empty as well. The two middleweight contenders then locked up against the fence, with Marquardt reversing Okami’s leg trip attempt and winding up on top. After Marquardt was able to land with some strikes, Okami scrambled to his feet and looked for his own takedown. It didn’t come, and the two separated, unable to make anything significant happen before the end of the stanza.
Early in the final round, Okami’s punches opened a cut under Marquardt’s right eye, and buoyed by his success, he began to chase the Wyoming native. For his part, Marquardt, who was beginning to look fatigued, tried to counter Okami’s advances, but as the round progressed, Okami appeared to have even more confidence in his striking as the crowd chanted his name. With under two minutes left, Marquardt began to pick up his pace, landing a few strikes before taking Okami to the mat. Okami got back to his feet quickly and resumed his stalking of Marquardt, who landed a hard counter right before the two locked up against the fence and traded knees until the end of the bout.
With the win, Okami improves to 27-5; Marquardt falls to 33-10-2.
Okami Decisions Nate, Earns Title Shot
The wait is over. After more than four years building his resume in the UFC, Japan’s Yushin Okami has earned a shot at the world middleweight championship. Watch all the fights again on UFCLive.com.