Round 1 - "Big" John McCarthy gets main-event duty as the final ref in Strikeforce history. Champion Marquardt. Challenger Saffiedine. History about to be made in Oklahoma City. Feeling-out kind of starts for both fighters the first 30 seconds, faking jabs. Saffiedine lands first with an outside leg kick. Then he tries inside. Then to the body, and Marquardt throws his first punch of the fight. They trade kicks and knees, and Marquardt slips for a moment, but Saffiedine cant take advantage. Saffiedine backs him to the cage, and on the break, Marquardt just misses with a big right hook. Saffiedine kicks to the body. Marquardt tries an outside leg kick. A front kick misses. Saffiedine again lands with the outside leg kick. Marquardt tries a side kick to the body. Finally, he comes inside and lands a decent punch and ties Saffiedine up on the fence. They stalemate for a minute, and the crowd gets restless. They reverse against each other, but the round will end without much activity. The crowd does not approve. MMAjunkie.com scores the first for Saffiedine, 10-9.
Round 2 - Saffiedine fakes a right, then kicks to the body. Marquardt fakes a few body punches,b ut he's still yet to really let anything go, staying very patient so far. They kick at the same time, but then Saffiedine lands a knee that puts Marquardt on his knees. He drops down and looks to take advantage, but Marquardt latches on to a single leg and gets a beautiful trip takedown as Saffiedine tries to work his way out of it. They tie up and trade position on the fence again. And they trade. And they trade. And they trade. Not much getting done, so with two minutes left, McCarthy breaks them apart. Saffiedine throws a left jab, then a right kick to the body. He keeps working punch-kick combos. Marquardt tries to creep forward to land something big, but it hasn't been there just yet. With a minute left, Marquardt drives forward to try for a takedown. Saffiedine defends. They break, and Marquardt punches while Saffiedine counters with kicks. Saffiedine lands a nice right with 10 seconds left, and a Marquardt spinning high kick has him slipping as the round winds down. It's close, but MMAjunkie.com will score it again for Saffiedine, 10-9. He appears to be more active.
Round 3 - More kicks from Saffiedine open things up, and Marquardt kicks himself to counter. A minute in, they tie up and the fight goes to the fence again. Saffiedine has Marquardt's back against it, but Marquardt spins around and will keep looking for the trip takedown. The crowd booing almost exclusively at this point. They break after a minute of little activity. Marquardt tries to come inside after another minute of very little going on. He lands, but so does Saffiedine in a counter. With 90 seconds left, they tie up again for a few seconds. Saffiedine rocks another leg kick. He tries to kick up high. Marquardt looks winded. Saffiedine kicks the leg again, then another time. And again. Marquardt fakes, but Saffiedine kicks the leg again. Marquardt gets through for a good right hand. But then he shoots and Saffiedine stuffs it. Saffiedine isn't doing tons offensively, but it's more than Marquardt. MMAjunkie.com scores the third for Saffiedine, 10-9.
Round 4 - Saffiedine training partner Dan Henderson gets the fight's biggest ovation when he's shown on the big screens as we head into the championship rounds. Marquardt looks to be a little more energized at the start. He may realize he potentially is in trouble from a points perspective on the scorecards. He tries to push the fight to the cage, but Saffiedine won't have it. Saffiedine continues to look for the kicks. But Marquardt is starting to look for giant uppercuts – the same kind that put Tyron Woodley out to win him the title in July. Saffiedine is covering up and backing out of there to try to reset. Saffiedine works another kick and Marquardt tries to answer with one of his own before trying a 1-2 combo. Marquardt looks like he's the fresher fighter after 17 1/2 minutes. He tries to catch a Saffiedine kick, but Saffiedine stays on his feet. Saffiedine tries to land a knee inside, but it's not there and Marquardt answers with a couple good punches before again trying to catch a kick and send Saffiedine to the floor. Saffiedine keeps coming forward, though, and he lands a few good jabs that have Marquardt's nose bloody. He goes to work on Marquardt's lead left leg, and it looks pretty gnarly from all the kicks. Right hand from Marquardt is blocked, and Saffiedine again lands to the leg. It's a closer round. MMAjunkie.com will score it again for Saffiedine, 10-9, though Marquardt did his best work of the fight early in the frame.
Round 5 - Marquardt probably will need to get a stoppage to win this fight and retain his title. He's got five minute sto do it. He swings wildly, but Saffiedine again goes right after his very swollen left leg. Then he comes up high wiht a kick, then a punch, then back to the bad leg. Then Saffiedine ties things up a little. Marquardt looks for a Thai plum, but Saffiedine is defending for now. Saffiedine reverses and gets a Thai clinch, but there's no knees there for him and they break with three minutes left. Saffiedine goes one more time to that leg, right on the button. Marquardt's feeling it now; imagine tomorrow and Monday. Saffiedine pops his head back with a jab, then kicks again to the left leg. They tie up momentarily, then break. Marquardt will have about 90 seconds to do something. But it's Saffiedine landing a couple punches and pushing the fight back to the wall. With 1:10 left, they break apart. And with 45 seconds left, Saffiedine lands a big takedown, and that's going to seal the deal. He finishes the fight looking for some ground-and-pound, and he probably is the final Strikeforce welterweight champion. MMAjunkie.com scores the last for Saffiedine 10-9 and has the fight for him 50-45 – though a 49-46 wouldn't be out of the question. Tarec Saffiedine def. Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) - for final Strikeforce welterweight title