Nate Marquardt returned to action on Saturday night at XMMA 3 against Valdir Araujo.
Earlier this year, the former Strikeforce champion and UFC veteran announced he would be coming out of retirement and competing again after an almost four-year hiatus from mixed martial arts. Marquardt signed with Florida-based promotion Titan Fighting Championship and made his debut this past August at Titan FC 71, where he survived a near fight-ending scare to score a first-round submission over Michael Cora.
Marquardt fought two months later under the XMMA banner, where he met a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist in Araujo. The fight began, and Marquardt looked good early. ‘The Great’ wore down the legs of ‘BBMonster’ and caught him with a few front kicks to the face. Just as Marquardt found his groove, he got stung with a big right hand and dropped to the canvas. Araujo rushed in and secured a guillotine choke, but Marquardt popped his head out after a couple of seconds. Now in a much better position, Marquardt went to work with elbows and punches that sliced up the face of Araujo, who was rocking a gnarly crimson mask. The round ended, and Araujo looked worse for wear as he sustained two separate cuts above and below his eyes.
A bloodied and battered Araujo was still in the fight, though. He pressed forward and kept hitting Marquardt with those right hands until another one got through and put his opponent down again. This time, Araujo unloaded on Marquardt and forced the referee to step in. The Brazilian earned a second-round technical knockout over the seasoned veteran in arguably the most impressive win of his professional career.
You can watch the final sequence below, courtesy of legendary Twitter user Caposa:
Marquardt has already responded to the loss to Araujo with a brief message on Instagram.
“Congrats to [Valdir Araujo] tonight,” wrote Marquardt. “It was a pleasure to share the cage with you. I’m disappointed but I know my life is in the hands of King Jesus. Win or lose, praise the name of the Lord. Thank you Lord for protecting us from serious injury and giving us strength to put on a great performance.”
Marquardt sees his overall record fall to 36-20-2, while Araujo improves to 19-9.