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Marquardt Decisions Salaverry;
Bonnar-Hoger Affair to Remember at UFN 1
By Loretta Hunt
The disappointment on Ivan Salaverry’s face accurately echoed his stilted performance against a sharp Nathan Marquardt tonight at Ultimate Fight Night 1 from the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. Whether it be the pressure of having to anchor the UFC’s first live event not relegated to pay-per-view, a situation of a good fighter having an off night, or a good fighter who’d simply met his match; the fluid, reactive Salaverry of past UFC bouts was nowhere to be found.
From the start of the three rounder, which handed Denver native Marquardt his first victory in his inaugural UFC appearance; the focused newcomer scored early with repeated kicks, then caught Salaverry’s return fire and took him down at the 3:00 mark. Salaverry rose quickly, and tried to find some rhythm with occasional high kicks that Marquardt amply defended till round’s end.
The Chilean middleweight’s inability to commit to an attack often telegraphed his next move, and Marquardt, an experienced champion in Japan’s Pancrase organization, was able to meet Salaverry at every turn. Off an anticipated kick, Salaverry found himself on his back, and Marquardt landed two solid elbows before they stood. At a later moment, Marquardt landed a combo on his feet and squashed a Salaverry takedown to push him to his back again. Rather than hunt for the submission, the former Matt Hume student punched upwards till the bell.
Marquardt continued to control the pace into the third round and Salaverry began to get desperate, throwing a wide swing uncharacteristic of a fighter his caliber that elicited jeers from the live crowd. Again, Marquardt caught Salaverry’s kick and got the takedown, and tried to follow-up with an illegal kick to the head (most likely a product of his Pancrase rearing). Scrambling to his feet, Salaverry’s awkward shoot was halted and Marquardt secured a guillotine choke that Salaverry nimbly rolled out of, but Marquardt was right there to try and take Salaverry’s back as he rose to his feet. The pair ended the round with a struggle for control along the fence, but it was clear Marquardt would savor the victory in this outing.
TUF season one’s most emotional fighter Chris Leben was a rock against Canadian Patrick Cote in their middleweight showdown that gave the fiery-haired Team Quest fighter a split decision victory in the end. Leben’s plan was clear: throw a few punches and clinch to the fence for a takedown. However, Cote proved a formidable roadblock, often reversing Leben on the fence and clearing out to the middle where the two entertained the crowds with some head-turning swings. In these exchanges, Cote’s speed gave him a slight edge in the first round.
To the delight of fans and probably the UFC/Spike TV brass looking on, rounds two and three also hosted some feverish trades of leather. Off an early flurry, Leben went for another takedown and the two fell simultaneously to the mat for the first time where Cote nestled into Leben’s guard. The Montreal striker wanted to stand though, and ate a knee from Leben as he rose. Leben scored his first clean takedown shortly after, and Cote tied up his aggressor well, to the point where referee Herb Dean stood them for inactivity, and in the round’s final seconds, Cote landed a punch just as Leben slipped to the ground.
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