I’m astounded Nate “The Great” Marquardt (35-18-2) still has a job. I get that’s a weird way to start out a prediction, but he’s 3-7 in his latest UFC stint and hasn’t won back-to-back fights in his last 11. In three of those fights, he was knocked out cold.
It’s a pity because Marquardt used to be really good. He made his name in the UFC as an athletic boxer with good grappling and surprising power. After his title-fight loss to Anderson Silva, he established himself as a kind of “contention gatekeeper” where beating him put you next in line to get your face caved in by Silva. Heck, this guy brutally knocked out Tyron Woodley in Strikeforce.
But Marquardt has become a man without a weight class right as the mileage on his body has reached critical levels.
At welterweight, he lacks the speed and explosiveness to keep up with the division’s best athletes. At middleweight, he lacks the physical strength to use the wrestling half of his mixed-attack as much as he’d like. He has the endurance at 185 lbs to keep from being knocked out cold (Thiago Santos notwithstanding), but he’s still not able to mount the type of consistent offense that would keep him in the top 15.
The winner of the quickly forgotten TUF: Brazil, Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira (11-6) has a lot to like on paper.
At 6′ 1″ with a 78″ reach, he has good height and length for the division. He’s got good bulk which keeps him from being out-muscled, and he has good power in his hands. He’s had some trouble finishing opponents upon his arrival in the UFC, but a 7-4 record in the company is nothing to scoff at. He submitted the dangerous Thiago Santos in the first round via guillotine, showing that he has the presence of mind and quick reflexes to snatch a quick victory.
But Ferreira is surprisingly vulnerable on the feet. His striking is so basic that fighters can catch him on the feet with alarming frequency; he’s been knocked out in the first round three times. One of those losses was to CB Dollaway, a solid fighter who nonetheless shouldn’t be sleeping anyone with one punch.
This fight should be a wash for Ferreira. Marquardt struggles against physical fighters and Ferreira is a big middleweight who hits pretty hard. So it makes sense that Ferreira is opening up a tremendous favorite.
But Ferreira can be countered during brawls; Sam Alvey cracked him with a left while CB Dollaway baited him in and caught him with a right. In both of Marquardt’s most recent knockout wins, he waited for the opportune moment to uncork his vaunted right cross. He doesn’t have the explosiveness of Vitor Belfort nor the toughness of Brad Tavares, neither of whom could finish.
The question is, if Ferreira doesn’t get countered, can he still maintain discipline over three rounds? The edge goes to the Brazilian but don’t be surprised by an upset.
Ferreira via Decision
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