Nate Marquardt lost an eliminator match to Chael Sonnen in February by unanimous decision, missing an opportunity to face UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117. Sonnen dominated Silva but eventually lost in his title bid by tapout due to a triangle choke late in the fifth and final round.
With Sonnen out of the middleweight mix until his failed drug test issue is resolved, Dana White and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva set an eliminator match on November 13 at UFC 122 in Germany. The main event was supposed to feature Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami to dispute the No. 1 contender spot to challenge Silva’s title in early 2011.
After Marquardt’s loss to Sonnen, he had to start winning again to climb back on top of the mix. His recent first round knockout win over Rousimar Palhares at UFC Fight Night 22 was a good start and he had to add a few more significant wins to become a middleweight contender again.
As luck would have it, Belfort had to pull out of UFC 122 due to an undisclosed injury. Nate Marquardt was tapped to step in and fight Okami in the UFC 122 main event eliminator. A win over Okami will set him up for a title shot early next year but a loss will again derail his fighting career.
Between the two fighters, Marquardt may have the better chance of pulling an upset win over Silva since he is the more solid well-rounded fighter.