UFC Live 4 Preview: Nate Marquardt vs. Rick Story

nullDespite making his 170-pound debut this Sunday, there is a lot of buzz about where Nate Marquardt fits into the UFC welterweight division.

Rick Story just recently proved at UFC 130 that he isn’t someone to be taken lightly after beating Thiago Alves by unanimous decision.

Now, the two will meet, and there is only room for one to climb up the contender ladder.

Here is a look at both fighters heading into this contest.

Nate Marquardt (31-10-2): Nate “The Great” has been one of the top middleweights in the UFC for years but has now decided to make the drop down to welterweight. Marquardt is well rounded, but uses his striking and strong wrestling to win his fights. Marquardt likes to bully his opponents, which is something that Story likes to do as well. His weakness in the new division could be speed and conditioning, as his opponents may be able to push a faster pace.

Rick Story (13-3): Rick Story is on a six-fight win streak as he has worked his way up the 170-pound division. Story is a fearless fighter that will bring the fight to his opponents and not be afraid to let the fight go anywhere. He has strong wrestling and respectable striking. He is pretty much a mauler that just tries to smother his opponents and not let them get comfortable. While his strength has been his wrestling, he may struggle with the size and strength of Marquardt in this fight.

Who Will Win: Story is a tough fighter, but Marquardt has a style that I think will pose problems for him. Grapplers that weren’t as strong as Marquardt have struggled with him and I think that will be the case in this fight. I don’t think Story will be able to get him to the ground and that is when Marquardt’s striking will take over. I look for Marquardt to overwhelm Story and get a clear decision victory.

Story steps in for Johnson, will face Marquardt at UFC on Versus 4

nullNo rest for the wicked.

Just a few days after scoring the biggest win in his young MMA career, Rick Story found out he won’t have to wait long to return to the octagon, as he will fill in for the injured Anthony Johnson at UFC on Versus 4.

Story will take on Nate Marquardt in his welterweight debut on June 26 from Pittsburgh, Penn. MMAMania.com has the details.

Story has accepted this bout less than a week removed from his three-round war against Thiago Alves at the UFC 130 event on May 28. He absorbed a ton of punishment but outlasted “Pitbull” on his way to a unanimous decision win.

It was the sixth in a row for “Horror” who has been campaigning for a shot at the welterweight title. He’s steadily working his way up the ladder, picking off contenders as he goes.

This fight is just as interesting as Johnson vs. Marquardt, if not more. Story relies on being a bully in the cage, using his size and pressure to win fights. But, Marquardt is just as good at that as anyone and will likely be the bigger fighter of the two.

This will truly be a big test for Story.

Jon Fitch wants to fight the best, nothing less

nullJon Fitch is tired of the days of facing lesser opponents.

After Rick Story called out Fitch following his win over Thiago Alves at UFC 130, Fitch has made it clear that he wants just one of two possible fights in an interview with MMAWeekly.com.

“I’m at a point in my career where I need to be fighting main events and main event fighters,” Fitch told MMAWeekly.com. “And if you don’t have a belt, currently, or you haven’t owned a belt in the UFC, I’m not really interested.”

“I’ve gone out of my way throughout my career to just fight everybody they put in front of me and it’s cost me dearly. When you fight somebody who no one knows and don’t recognize their name, it doesn’t matter how bad you beat them.

“I kind of had a talk with Rashad Evans during the expo up in Canada. (It) kind of opened up my eyes to it a little bit. He was telling me I (have to) stop screwing around, I have to think about my career, and I’m a main event fighter. I should only be fighting main event people.”

“I want BJ or GSP. Those are the only two guys I care (to fight) or have any interest in right now. If I (have to) sit out a year and wait for them, I’ll do it. That’s what I’m waiting to fight for.”

Fitch is currently out until late 2011 after shoulder surgery, but the 23-3-1 veteran of the UFC has a point. He has faced a number of unknown opponents during his UFC run and went through them all.

Fitch is a big enough name that he can demand top fights and not many people are going to argue. Still, the UFC doesn’t seem keen on giving him another bout with St. Pierre after GSP beat him up for five rounds in their first meeting.

MMA News & Notes for May 31

nullFollowing UFC 130, all seems to be quiet on the MMA front.

However, I was able to find some tidbits that you may be interested in.

- It appears that Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson are having another lovers’ quarrel. Like any media hungry respectable couple, the two have taken to their Twitter accounts (Here’s Tito’s and here’s Jenna’s) to hurl insults at one another. Tito accuses Jenna of cheating and Jenna accuses Tito of domestic abuse. Boy, if these two level-headed people can’t make it work out, what couple can? Any chance Ortiz uses this as a reason to pull out of his UFC 132 bout with Ryan Bader in hopes to get a lesser opponent?

- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson made us all a little uncomfortable by sexually harassing a female reporter on camera, again. The incident isn’t the first time that Rampage has been sexually aggressive toward a female interviewer. He is just begging to have a major lawsuit handed to him and the UFC. (MMAFighting)

- Dream “Fight for Japan” took place on Sunday and top lightweight, Shinya Aoki, added to his impressive record with a submission of former UFC contender, Rich Clementi. Aoki improves to 28-5 in his MMA career and the submission against Clementi came in the second round from a face lock. Aoki has now won his last three fights by submission. (Sherdog)

- Thiago Alves thinks he won his UFC 130 bout with Rick Story. Apparently Alves forgot about the first two rounds where he mounted little offense and spent a great deal of time on his back. Alves did have an impressive third round, but he didn’t finish the fight. Last time I checked, winning one round isn’t as good as winning two rounds. (MMAMania)

A few thoughts from UFC 130

nullWell, UFC 130 is in the books.

The PPV was a little uneventful but still had plenty of intriguing storylines emerge. Here are some thoughts I took away from Saturday’s event.

- Rampage had a solid performance despite what the fans thought – The main event might have had a number of boos surround it, but I thought that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had a solid performance against Matt Hamill. You have to consider a few things. First, Rampage had a fractured hand coming into the bout and still peppered Hamill with some big punches that didn’t manage to send him down. Second, Rampage stuffed each and every takedown attempt Hamill had with ease. To me, Rampage looked about as good as I have ever seen him and I think a healthy Rampage that shows that kind of takedown defense could pose a real threat to Jon Jones, if he is indeed the next in line for a title fight.

- Roy Nelson really needs to do something with himself – In the co-main event, Frank Mir had little difficulty winning a decision over Roy Nelson. Mir simply had to survive the opening five minutes and then Nelson could barely breathe for the final two rounds. Nelson has the talent to be a real impressive fighter. He has the ground skills and the punching power to contend with anyone, but his lack of conditioning and his desire to stick with his obese physique is hampering his career. I would like to see Nelson commit to losing weight and see where that takes him. Maybe he fights as a smaller heavyweight, or maybe he can even cut down to light heavyweight. The window for him to succeed is closing, and the blueprint for beating him is out there. It is only a matter of time before his UFC run ends because he fails to commit to change.

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