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‘Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy’ main card recap: Marquardt KO’s Woodley, takes welterweight crown

Nate Marquardt shook off any ring rust he may have had after a long layoff, viciously knocking out Tyron Woodley to claim the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title.

In the opening round, Tyron Woodley struck first by landing a thunderous right hook that sent Marquardt skating across the cage. Woodley went in for the kill, trying to get the fight to the mat but was unable to keep Marquardt on the canvas.

Marquardt rallied after getting back to his feet, uncorking a right hand that had Woodley nearly out on his feet. Marquardt seized momentum of the round from there, landing knees inside mixed with grinding elbows. His right hand continued to connect as well to cap off an action-packed first round.

Marquardt came out confident in the second, stalking Woodley across the cage and implementing his leg kicks. Woodley retaliated, but it was Marquardt that took a commanding lead into the third round as he continued to land power shots at will.

Woodley turned the tides in the third round, stringing together consecutive three-punch combinations that backed Marquardt into the cage to start. A flurry that was punctuated with a pinpoint-accurate right hand sent Marquardt to the mat. Woodley poured on the ground-and-pound, fighting off an armbar attempt to take the third round.

The championship rounds started with Marquardt going to the body and landing his jab. He followed up with a monstrous combination that backed Woodley into the cage. From there Marquardt poured on the punishment, landing a flurry of elbows. The third elbow put Woodley out on his feet, but Marquardt continued to tee off, landing a huge left hand and a final uppercut that collapsed Woodley to the canvas.

The brutal KO ended the fight at 1:29 of the fourth round and crowned a new champion as Nate Marquardt (32-10, 10-4 UFC, 1-0 SF) becomes the new Strikeforce welterweight champion.

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