UFC 73 Middleweight Championship – Nate Marquardt vs Anderson Silva

Well as I’m sure you are already aware, Anderson Silva retained his middleweight title by a referee stoppage of his fight against Nate Marquardt in UFC #73 with only 10 seconds left in the first round of their five round title fight. This came as no surprise to me as Silva has the potential to hold onto the title for quite some time. Just how long can Silva reign as champion? Well, this has yet to be determined, and will be done so by none other than Silva himself and whether or not he can resist the many temptations that seem to plague most, if not all, of the fighters once they win their respective titles. This is of course with a few notable exceptions.

What will follow is a detailed professional analysis of the fight from start to finish, concluding with some final thoughts concerning both fighters. Please keep in mind that these are my views from my own perspective of the events that transpired. They are by no means intended to shed any kind of negative or disparaging thoughts, words, etc. on either one of the fighters involved. I have a great deal of respect for anyone, and I do mean anyone, who steps onto the mat. So, with further ado let’s get started.


The first and only comparison that this particular fight brought to mind as I watched it, was the lethal dance performed between a mongoose (Marquardt) and a cobra (Silva) as the mongoose tries to out maneuver its more lethal adversary. Now in nature, the mongoose will more times than not be able to defeat the venomous cobra through a series of evasive maneuvers followed by vicious counterstrikes that eventually wear down the cobra to the point where the mongoose is able to deliver its final lethal bite.

This comparison was evident from the onset of the fight when Marquardt started the fight by throwing a series of lazy pawing like jabs which seemed to be aimed at a visibly confident and relaxed Silva’s right hand. Marquardt was obviously using the left hand as a probing attack to see what kind of reaction he was going to get from Silva. When Silva didn’t react to the left hand, Marquardt took advantage of this to land a left leg roundhouse kick to the outside of Silva’s right leg, which was in the lead position since Silva was fighting out of a southpaw stance. Marquardt continued with this strategy and after a few more ineffective pawing left hands, landed yet another left leg roundhouse to the outside of Silva’s right thigh. Although this kick was less effective than the first one Marquardt landed.

Silva meanwhile seemed content to patiently wait for the opportunity to launch an effective counterattack, which he did when Marquardt rushed in throwing a series of left and right hands. Silva countered by briefly grabbing Marquardt around the neck in a typical Muay Thai clinch and then letting go to deliver a short straight right hand to the head causing Marquardt to backpedal across the ring. Silva followed Marquardt across the ring and made a colorful, yet ineffective, attempt to land a double-jump knee strike to Marquardt’s head with his left knee.

Marquardt did well defensively here by avoiding the knee strike and then grabbing onto Silva’s left leg and holding onto it while attempting to get Silva down onto the ground, which he did eventually accomplish after a valiant attempt by Silva to maintain his upright position.

Marquardt maintained the top position during the ground game although he wasn’t very effective in this top position other than maintaining the top position. Silva on the other hand was able to land several elbows and punches to Marquardt’s rib cage and even a couple of ineffective blows to the head from the bottom position. At one point during the initial ground exchange, Silva was able to temporarily push Marquardt off of him before Marquardt once again regained the top position. Marquardt was even able to stand up and attempted to drop a few punches down onto Silva’s head. The punches were ineffective at best although Marquardt was able to once again regain the top position after avoiding Silva’s “bicycle pedaling” kicking defense in an attempt to keep him at bay.

After a few moments of ineffective ground tactics, referee “Big John” McCarthy stopped the action and had both fighters restart in a standing position. Marquardt repeated his strategy that he implemented at the beginning of the round by once again throwing a lazy pawing jab that seemed to be aimed more at Silva’s lead right hand, rather than at his head or body. Marquardt did manage to throw a single right hand followed by more of the lazy pawing left hand.

Silva on the other hand seemed very much at ease as he patiently waited for an opening to appear in the defense of Marquardt. Silva tested Marquardt’s defenses with a left leg roundhouse kick to the head, which was easily blocked by Marquardt’s right arm. This kick however presented Silva with an opening which he capitalized on with a straight left hand that knocked Marquardt down, but not out. Marquardt, down on the ground on his knees and forearms, wrapped both arms around Silva’s left leg in an attempt to neutralize his attack and give him some time in order to recover from the punch and to gain an advantage over Silva. Meanwhile, Silva landed several elbow strikes to the head and a couple of punches to the rib cage.

Marquardt, in an attempt to take Silva to the ground, stood up while maintaining his hold on Silva’s left leg and tried to take Silva down. Silva in a very impressive show of slipperiness, reversed himself with Marquardt and grabbed a hold of Marquardt’s left leg and took him right down to the ground where Silva proceeded to land a right hand hammerfist strike followed by a particularly well placed right hand punch that resulted in referee “Big John” McCarthy stopping the fight with only 10 seconds left to go in the first round. Hence, Silva retained his middleweight title in his first title defense since winning the title from Rich Franklin.


Now there was basically only one contributing factor that was directly responsible for the referee’s stoppage of this fight, and that was the very effective right hand by Silva to the head of the downed Marquardt. However, there were a few additional contributing factors that took place just prior to the referee’s stoppage. I have broken those factors down by fighter and they are as follows:


If you watched the fight closely, Marquardt seemed to be “holding on” to Silva’s left leg after the left hand that knocked him down, rather than initiating any type of counterattack. Now this could have been and probably was done in an attempt to clear his head after the punch, and in that respect it would have been effective. However, this inactivity on the part of Marquardt allowed Silva the opportunity to land numerous elbow strikes to the head and punches to the ribs, which just adds to the effects of the earlier left hand to the head. This, in my opinion, had a very devastating effect on Marquardt’s ability to affect a takedown of Silva when he stood up just prior to the end of the fight.


The ease in which he slipped out of Marquardt’s grasp and turned the tables on him by grabbing Marquardt’s own left leg and affecting an impressive takedown followed by several strikes to the head including the very effective right hand which caused the referee to stop the fight. Silva’s totally relaxed and in control manner made this fight appear to be little more than a glorified sparring session for him, which is exactly how this fight should have appeared.


Here are my thoughts on how each fighter could improve upon their respective abilities concerning this particular fight.


1. If a particular strategy works, continue to use it! Your lead leg roundhouse kick to the outside of the thigh after the lazy “pawing” jab was landing, but you abandoned it after two times. Both of which landed effectively, although the first kick seemed to land with a lot more authority than the second kick.

2. What’s with the lazy “pawing” type jab? I have seen this very same technique executed in a point style tournament type setting to a somewhat successful degree, but I have never seen it used in a full-contact type setting. I am not sure what you were trying to accomplish with it, but it didn’t seem to have any noticeable effect. Had Silva thrown a straight left or a counter right hand to the head while you were throwing, it would have landed and landed hard.

3. You did a fantastic job of grabbing the leg after the failed attempt at striking the head, now you just need to learn how to maximize the effectiveness of that in order to put your opponent at a greater disadvantage. A suggestion; learn how to sweep the supporting leg at the same time you are holding the other leg in the air.


His strategy and technique for this particular fight was almost flawless. However, here are a couple of things that I noticed.

1. Your patience and relaxed demeanor in the ring is a very powerful asset. However, you need to be a little more aggressive when you see an obvious opening such as the lazy “pawing” jab. You could have easily landed a straight left to the head and/or a counter right hook to the head. On overhand right would have also been available and that isn’t taking into account the numerous takedowns you could have used.

2. The attempted double-jump knee to the head was colorful and had it landed it would have been very impressive. However, techniques like these are best left for after your opponent is visibly stunned by a previous technique and ready to fall down anyhow. If you were insistent upon using this particular technique, it should have been to the body.

3. You would have been much better off if you would have followed up on the straight right hand with more punches to the head followed by a Muay Thai clinch and knees to the body.


Unfortunately for Marquardt, he’s not as decisive as a mongoose and failed to really present much of a problem to Silva. Silva on the other hand, sure did one hell of a job imitating a venomous cobra with his patience, elusiveness, and finally his poisonous bite. Personally, I think Silva should reconsider his nickname and change it to “The Cobra” or even “The Black Cobra,” which I feel would be a more appropriate moniker for him to be tagged with instead of “The Spider.” But that’s just my opinion.

Nicole Thomas

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