Oklahoma City, OK, United States (4E Sports) – Tarec Saffedine scored a huge upset, beating Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision to wrest the welterweight title in Saturday’s final Strikeforce bout in history at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Saffiedine relied on his steady leg kicks to dethrone Marquardt via scores of 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46 to end the promotion’s six-year MMA involvement with a bang.
“It’s unbelievable,” Saffiedine said. “I can’t imagine I’m wearing the belt right now. I want to thank Strikeforce for being by my side for so long.”
Saffiedine (14-3) enjoyed plenty of success since signing with Strikeforce in 2010, going 7-1 with his only loss coming via decision to Tyron Woodley.
Saffiedine stunned Marquardt (32-11-2) with a counter jab then controlled the bout with low kicks.
In the fourth round, Saffiedine cut Marquardt on the bridge of his nose and continued to batter his lead leg, leaving his opponent without his most dangerous weapon.
After the fight, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker delivered a final few words, saying it “was time” for the promotion to close.
“It’s a tough thing, but I’m so happy for these guys who fought tonight,” Coker said. “This is the pinnacle of my career. I think we did some great work in mixed martial arts. It’s time.”
In another bout, Daniel Cormier remained unbeaten after beating Dion Staring via second-round TKO victory.
After the win, Cormier (11-0) confirmed that he has signed a UFC deal and called out former heavyweight champion Frank Mir.
“In my ideal universe that’s what would happen,” Cormier said. “But it could not happen. If it doesn’t, I’ll just keep plugging away.”
The two were originally scheduled to fight at a Strikeforce event on Nov. 3, but Mir was forced to withdraw with a knee injury.
Cormier was spectacular since signing with Strikeforce in 2009. He won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix despite entering the competition as an alternate and defeated notable fighters such as Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva.
In other matches, Josh Barnett defeated Nandor Guelmino via first-round submission, Gegard Mousasi beat Mike Kyle via submission and Ronaldo Souza used a kimura to beat veteran Ed Herman in the first round.