SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Anderson Silva will face Nate Marquardt in his first defense of the middleweight title. Here's what each man will have to do to win:
Keys to victory
1. Stand at all costs. Silva is a Muay Thai expert with thunder in both hands. Though he's also a BJJ black belt, so is Marquardt. Silva can win early by standing.
1. Lose the distance. Silva is such a powerful striker, Marquardt has to make certain he's not caught at the end of one of those blows.
2. Use his knees. Silva has dangerous knees and should use them whenever they're in the clinch.
2. Shoot from angles. Marquardt has great takedowns and Silva doesn't have the best takedown defense. He does have deadly knees, though, and will use them if Marquardt gets predictable in his shots.
3. Kick sparingly. Silva is a great kicker, but with Marquardt's wrestling acumen and ground skills, an abundance of kicks could put Silva in peril. He has to kick because he can hurt Marquardt with it, but he has to use his kicks judiciously.
3. Go for side control. Marquardt is terrific on the ground, but Silva proved in his win over Travis Lutter that he is, too. But if Marquardt can pass guard and get to side control, he has a host of options available and isn't at much peril.
4. Remember standup defense. Silva is such a great striker, he can get careless at times and leave himself exposed. Marquardt has heavy hands and could make Silva pay dearly for a mistake.
Defend the clinch. Marquardt must do a good job of limiting Silva's knees and inside punches while they're in the clinch.
Rating the fighters
Comparison of champion Anderson Silva and challenger Nate Marquardt
Silva fights from a southpaw stance, but his best punch is his right.
Marquardt is at an advantage if it becomes a wrestling match.
Silva is lightning quick with his legs and feet.
Marquardt had better be careful he doesn't get submitted from guard.
If Marquardt gets his hands on Silva, he's going down.
Both are solid.
Silva may have the more varied arsenal.
Marquardt has a wrestler's typical endurance.
Silva has a deceptive, sinewy strength.
Marquardt knows this may be his one and only shot.
The fight may come down to whether Silva can keep it standing.