Rick Story has made his name by walking into fights and being relentlessly aggressive from start to finish. He’s one of those fighters who’s so enjoyable to watch because you know with absolute certainty he’ll be in top shape to go 15 full minutes, and press the action by continuously moving forward and making his opponent fight him. In short, Rick Story fights have no lulls.
That strategy alone can either carry him to victory over Nate Marquardt this Sunday night, or be the cause of his demise by making one wrong move in being overly aggressive against a savvy veteran who knows how to capitalize on opponent’s mistakes.
I like this fight because both men have a lot to prove. For Marquardt, it’s the start of a new chapter in an impressively long career, and another quest to capture a title. He lost badly in his bid to take Anderson Silva’s middleweight crown nearly four years ago, and has spent that time trying to climb back up the mountain, only to get knocked back down every time he came close.
Clearly, he feels at this point it’s better for him to drop to welterweight and see what kind of success he can have there. It’s a good move.
For Story, a win over a talent like Marquardt would put his name at the top of the list for title contention. Whether he would deserve that or not in his next fight is debatable, but what wouldn’t be debatable is his rocket-like ascension up the ranks of one of the deepest and toughest divisions in the UFC.
Rick Story is hungry, and it shows in the way he fights and the way he approaches fights. As I said earlier, that hunger has the ability to win him this fight against Marquardt, or put a halt to his rise.
To beat Marquardt, Story would be best served watching his fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC 109. Sonnen served up a blueprint in how to deal with Marquardt by pressing forward at all costs and using outstanding wrestling and ground-and-pound from top position to nullify any counter attack Marquardt might muster. By the end of the fight, the only damage Marquardt was able to inflict was a few shots from the bottom, one of which cut Sonnen badly, but none of which slowed the pace or the beating he was taking.
Story’s game plan shouldn’t be too different, and in fact Story’s fighting style isn’t that much different than Sonnen’s in that respect; press the action non-stop, use superior wrestling to take down your opponent, and take their will over the course of the fight.
Marquardt has always taken his time to pick and choose his shots. His moments of pressing aggression tend to come when he senses weakness in his opponent and wants to finish the fight, something he is very adept at doing. If Story doesn’t give him that opportunity, he can make the judges decision an easy one at the end of three rounds simply by fighting the only way he’s shown since coming into the UFC, relentlessly.
Rick Story’s fighting style is tailor made to give a lot of opponents fits, and Marquardt is no exception. His achilles heel in this fight will be the well known short layoff he’s dealing with after having fought a three round war with Thiago Alves at UFC 130 less than four weeks ago.
Knowing the heart that Story brings with him into the cage, physical exhaustion won’t be on his agenda, and he’ll serve up 15 more minutes of hell, this time to Nate Marquardt.