For those of you who are wondering where Nate Marquardt came up with the unconventional combination that ended his fight with Wilson Gouveia, he explained a little at the post-fight press conference (via MMA Weekly):
“Even when I'm tired in the third round, or whenever, I still feel explosive. I still feel I can move quickly and I have the knockout power in the hands.”
Of course, it was more than just his hands that sealed Gouveia’s fate. After landing the knee flush, Marquardt knocked the American Top Team product across the cage with a trio of high kicks, the last followed by a 45-degree spinning backfist. Gouveia sat in concession when another knee met his head.
The sequence was not unlike something the champ would cook up.
“The funny thing is I started in Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – full contact Karate – so I have a lot of stuff in my background where I'm able to pull from, like the spinning back fist," said Marquardt at UFC 95’s post-fight presser. “And I've been working a lot of Muay Thai with a British guy, James McSweeney, and it's helping me out a lot. I felt very good on my feet."
Note that the key to throwing this kind of wild combination so late in the fight is conditioning. If Nate wasn't in incredible shape he wouldn't have the gas in the tank to risk spending the energy trying to finish the fight rather than holding back and going for the decision.
The second point to make about this combination is that its a mastery of the "traditional" holy trinity of MMA -- wrestling, jiu jitsu and muy thai -- that allows Marquardt to make effective use of a flashy karate combination like a left body kick-left high kick-right high kick-spinning backfist.
If Nate didn't have the wrestling skills to keep the fight standing or get back to his feet he wouldn't risk throwing the high kicks. If Nate didn't have the jiu jitsu skills to handle himself on the ground, he wouldn't wouldn't risk throwing the high kicks. If Nate didn't have the muy thai skills to land effective combinations he wouldn't be able to work in the high kicks.
I really wish I had a gif that showed the straight right jab that stunned Wilson and allowed Nate to land the flying knee. It reminded me very much of the jab/flying knee combination that B.J. Penn used to finish Sean Sherk in their title fight way back when.
Unlike Sherk, Wilson wasn't quite finished by the knee and had enough wherewithal to backpedal across the octagon. This is where Nate saw his chance to unleash the TMA (traditional martial arts) attack. The series of kicks allowed him to keep landing shots on Gouveia even as he backpedaled across the cage. The head kick/spinning back fist/
left right hook was an excellent way to capitalize once Wilson was back against the cage and unable to retreat anymore. And of course, the final knee to the face was the coup de grace.
This combination is a perfect example of modern mma fulfilling its potential to be a truly beautiful "ballet of violence".
Gif via Brawl Sports