Vet Marquardt to fight Alvey on UFC card at Pepsi Center
Nate Marquardt, a godfather of Colorado mixed martial arts, can remember a time when finding a gym with hybrid disciplines was easy — there was only one. More than 20 years later, Marquardt’s MMA career will come full circle when the 37-year-old veteran fights for the first time in Denver on a major UFC card.
Marquardt (38-16-2) will face Milwaukee’s Sam Alvey (29-8-0) in a nationally televised “UFC on Fox” card at the Pepsi Center on Jan. 28. The UFC will return to Denver for the first time since 2012, when Colorado native Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar at UFC 150.
Marquardt’s MMA roots dig to the beginning of UFC in the early 1990s.
A handful of MMA fighters existed before Marquardt, and a flood of them were born since he started. But his career path is unusually long.
Marquardt fought from regional circuits to Japan, where he won the Pancrase middleweight championship on three separate occasions. Then he returned to America to win a welterweight title in the Strikeforce circuit in 2012 by knocking out Tyron Woodley — the current UFC welterweight titlist — with strikes in the fourth round.
In 2007, he rose through UFC to earn a title fight against Anderson Silva at UFC 73 in Sacramento, Calif. Silva earned a TKO with punches in the first round. But Marquardt held on to title contention opportunities through 2012.
Marquardt last fought in Denver in 2007, on a smallcircuit card in between his tour of Japan. But he has never fought in his hometown on a UFC card. After an impressive knockout of Tamdan McCrory at UFC Fight Night in Portland in October — Marquardt won a knockout with a head kick in the second round — he was soon offered the fight in Denver. And his return was set.
“They’ve had so many shows here. I thought it was weird they never wanted me on one of those cards,” Marquardt said. “I wanted to fight here. But I didn’t want to ask for it.”
Tickets for the Jan. 28 UFC on Fox card at Pepsi Center went on sale Friday. UFC said it will announce the remainder of the card soon.