Some say winning isn’t everything, but for Nate Marquardt it is when he faces Yushin Okami in the main event of UFC 122 in Oberhausen, Germany, to crown the No. 1 contender in the UFC 185-pound division.
Marquardt is one win away from earning another shot at the UFC middleweight title. Okami stands in his way with the same title aspirations on the line. Both are ranked among the Top 10 middleweights in MMA.
Marquardt knows game plan and patience will be keys to his success at the König Pilsener Arena on Nov. 13 against his seasoned Japanese opponent.
Assessing his adversary, Marquardt said of Okami, “He’s a very solid opponent. He stays very strong and very composed throughout the fight no matter who he is fighting. He’s good at distance, so he’s very hard to hit. He has good takedown defense, so he’s hard to get on the ground. And I think that’s one of his best things, he’s hard to do anything to.”
Losing isn’t an option for Marquardt, and he plans to be calculating and methodical in his approach. He’s not concerned with the aesthetics of his game plan. The outcome is all that matters.
“He’s a very hard guy to attack, so unless I can get him to come out of his shell and kind of attack me more, it could be a chess match until I find that opening and who knows how long that will take because this is for a title shot and I’m not going to go in there and try to put on the most exciting fight and lose the fight,” Marquardt told MMAWeekly.com content partner TapouT Radio.
“Definitely I want to be exciting, but the main thing is I want to win this fight. Obviously if I get the chance I’m going to knock him out or submit him, but the number one thing for me is to win this fight, and for me, I have to follow the game plan.
“The game plan going into this fight is going to be a big thing for me. If I can follow my game plan and find my shots and find the openings to attack him, that’s where I’m going to be able to win the fight,” added Marquardt.
“He’s very strong. He has good basics, good stand-up, and good takedowns and takedown defense. He’s solid on the ground. He’s not super dangerous like the last guy I fought. Palhares, he’s one of the most dangerous jiu-jitsu guys. Okami’s not dangerous in that respect, but he’s patient and really a tough guy to game plan against, so I have to look at these little opportunities that I have in the fight and take advantage of them.”
Marquardt and Okami share at least one thing, every opponent they’ve faced remarks about how strong and powerful they were in the fight. Marquardt believes he’ll match Okami in the strength department if not overpower him, but is prepared in the event that Okami is the stronger of the two at UFC 122.
“He is strong, but I train with super strong guys and it’s nothing. I’m going to be able to handle that if not put some strength on him and throw him around a little bit. I think I’m going to be just as strong if not stronger,” stated the 31-year-old athlete. “Let’s say he was stronger than me. I’ll be able to make up any of that strength difference with technique, so I’m not really worried about the strength.
“I feel very comfortable. We’ve worked on some specific things that I think are going to be money in this fight,” said Marquardt. “I feel very confident.”