Nate Marquardt vs. Daiju Takase
Pancrase 2000 Anniversary Show
September 24, 2000
Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama, Japan
The first of three fights Marquardt would win that night to take his first, and so far only, major MMA title — the King of Pancrase middleweight title. Marquardt blasted Takase with a knee in the second round to finish the game Japanese wrestler. Takase, a journeyman throughout his career, would go on to beat the legendary Anderson Silva by decision in 2003. Marquardt went on to beat Kiuma Konioku and Shonie Carter by decision to win the tournament and take the King of Pancrase title. He would go on to win a record 7 Pancrase title fights before departing the promotion for the UFC.
Nate Marquardt vs Thales Leites
UFC 85: “Bedlam”
June 7, 2008
O2 Arena, London, England
Technically Marquardt lost this fight — he was docked two points for illegal strikes and lost a judges decision — but it signaled the emergence of a new ass-kicking, name taking Nate Marquardt that would transform his career. He’d already had a title run in the UFC, losing to Anderson Silva by TKO in the first round after going 4-0 in four very dull fights for the promotion. Marquardt finally threw caution to the wind against Leites and though it cost him a win, he showed he could excite fans with a new aggressive style. It’s worth noting that the elbows Herb Dean docked him a point for, didn’t appear to be illegal in the instant replay. It’s also worth noting that the power bomb Marquardt used to plant Leites on the top of his head is an illegal, and very dangerous spike, that Nate wasn’t penalized for.
Nate Marquardt vs. Martin Kampmann
UFC 88: “Breakthrough”
September 6, 2008
Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
If the Leites fight warned observant UFC middleweights that a newly aggressive Nate the Great was loose in the division, having put his old caution aside, the Kampmann fight sent a message that Nate was coming to kick ass. He obliterated Kampmann with strikes in just 82 seconds. It was a brutal enough beat down to send Kampmann down a division and one that definitely got the attention of fans. Suddenly Nate Marquardt was a brutal KO artist rather than a jack of all trades looking to win decisions.
Nate Marquardt vs. Wilson Gouveia
UFC 95: Sanchez vs Stevenson
February 21, 2009
O2 Arena, London, England
Marquardt followed up on the Kampmann win by putting on a flashy striking clinic against Wilson Gouveia at UFC 95. Gouveia, a former light heavyweight who’d emerged as a middleweight contender with wins over Jason MacDonald and Ryan Jensen, was expected to give Marquardt a tough challenge. Gouveia did survive into the third round, but it was just prelude to the display of acrobatic assault that Marquardt used to finish the fight. He caught Gouveia with a flying knee, then chased him across the cage with a sequence of high kicks capped off by a spinning back fist. A pair of right hooks and a knee to the face up against the cage finished Gouveia and confirmed that Marquardt was now capable of consistently putting on exciting performances and finishing top opponents.
Nate Marquardt vs. Demian Maia
UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira
August 29, 2009
Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon
Despite his 2008-2009 run as a newly violent Nate the Great, nothing Nate had done so far prepared fans for his one punch, 21 second utter obliteration of the heavily hyped jiu jitsu wizard Demian Maia. Maia had built up quite the hype train by pulling off 5 straight submission wins in his first 5 UFC bouts. Many expected him to get Marquardt down to the ground and submit him in short order. Marquardt crushed the hopes of many when he punished Maia for a lazy low kick by catching him with a perfect laser-guided missile of a right hand that sent Maia literally flying through the air, out cold.
(The five fights mentioned above are listed in chronological order.)