Nate Marquardt was on the cusp of losing his spot in the UFC as recently as December, but a big upset win has kept his place in the promotion secure for at least one more bout. Looking for his first UFC winning streak since 2009, Marquardt is apparently headed to Brazil on May 14th for a showdown with the surging Thiago Santos. Combate reported the newest fight booking on Wednesday, although UFC officials haven't formally announced it themselves.
Marquardt (34-15-2) is just 2-5 in his last 7, including a rare corner stoppage TKO loss against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 188. "The Great" was a significant underdog against C.B. Dollaway at UFC on FOX 17, but pulled off a shocking KO win in the 2nd round. It's his first knockout win since stopping Tyron Woodley to win the Strikeforce welterweight title in 2012.
Santos (12-3) has won three straight after a rough 1-2 start inside the Octagon. The 32-year-old is coming off a unanimous decision win over Canadian prospect Elias Theodorou on December 10th, preceded by back-to-back knockout wins over Andy Enz and Steve Bosse. All of Santos' finishes in the UFC have featured either a body kick (vs. Enz and Ronny Markes) or a head kick (vs. Bosse), and all of them occurred within the opening 2 minutes of the 1st round.
The main event of UFC Fight Night 88 is a middleweight contest between contenders Ronaldo Souza and Vitor Belfort. Welterweights Demian Maia and Matt Brown are expected to co-headline the card, which will be televised live on Fox Sports 1.