Zeroing in on an Ultimate Fighting Championship return once thought unlikely, Nate Marquardt has one last piece of unfinished business to handle in Strikeforce.
Marquardt tipped the scales at 170 pounds for his welterweight title defense against Tarec Saffiedine (170) in the Strikeforce “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine” main event on Saturday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The eight other men tapped for main card duty, including heavyweight co-headliners Daniel Cormier (230) and Dion Staring (240), also met their contracted weight requirements without incident at Friday’s official weigh-in.
A former King of Pancrase, Marquardt made his Strikeforce debut in July, as he wiped out the previously unbeaten Tyron Woodley with a series of fourth-round elbow strikes and punches to capture the promotion’s vacant welterweight crown. The 33-year-old Coloradan has recorded 13 wins in his past 17 fights. Victories over 2006 Pride Fighting Championships welterweight grand prix winner Kazuo Misaki, Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts standout Martin Kampmann, 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Demian Maia and former International Fight League middleweight champion Dan Miller anchor his resume. A potent finisher, Marquardt has secured 24 of his 32 professional conquests by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Saffiedine will enter the most significant fight of his career on the strength of a three-fight winning streak. The 26-year-old Belgian last appeared at Strikeforce “Rousey vs. Kaufman” in August, when he earned a unanimous decision over Roger Bowling at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Based at Team Quest, Saffiedine has gone the distance in each of his last five outings.
Strikeforce “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine” -- which airs on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT -- will also feature a heavyweight duel pairing Josh Barnett (249) with Nandor Guelmino (229), a light heavyweight tilt pitting Gegard Mousasi (205.5) against American Kickboxing Academy export Mike Kyle (205) and a catch-weight bout matching Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (193.25) with “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 finalist Ed Herman (193).
Two hours prior, Showtime Extreme will carry four preliminary matchups: Pat Healy (156) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (156), Roger Gracie (186) vs. Anthony Smith (186), Tim Kennedy (186) vs. Trevor Smith (186) and Ryan Couture (155.5) vs. K.J. Noons (156). The two remaining undercard bouts will not be aired, as Jorge Gurgel (155) locks horns with Adriano Martins (155.5) and Estevan Payan (156) collides with Mike Bravo (156).
Strikeforce “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine” Weigh-In Results:Nate Marquardt (170) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (170)
Daniel Cormier (230) vs. Dion Staring (240)
Josh Barnett (249) vs. Nandor Guelmino (229)
Gegard Mousasi (205.5) vs. Mike Kyle (205)
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (193.25) vs. Ed Herman (193)
Pat Healy (156) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (156)
Roger Gracie (186) vs. Anthony Smith (186)
Tim Kennedy (186) vs. Trevor Smith (186)
Ryan Couture (155.5) vs. K.J. Noons (156)
Jorge Gurgel (155) vs. Adriano Martins (155.5)
Estevan Payan (156) vs. Mike Bravo (156)