In an enjoyable, competitive fight, Nate Marquardt emerged victorious over Tyron Woodley to become Strikeforce’s new welterweight champion with a definitive knockout early in the fourth round.

Woodley started brightly in the first round, looking light on his feet and firing off some nice speedy leg kicks.

Marquardt was just starting to look to return the favor when he was suddenly caught by a crashing right hook from Woodley that sends him reeling across the cage.

Woodley then looks to get Marquardt down on the mat, but he’s unable to keep him there and Marquardt breaks free.

So far so good for Woodley, but suddenly it’s him who’s hurt as Marquardt lands a right hand of his own. Marquardt charges forward and looks for a guillotine, but Woodley gets out of it.

Marquardt keeps up the pressure, pressing Woodley up against the cage and lands some more strikes and Woodley’s still struggling to gain his bearings.

Woodley does eventually break free however and then wisely looks to clinch up with Marquardt and slow down the pace, allowing him to make it through to the second round.

In the second stanza Woodley lands a nice spinning backfirst early, but Marquardt eats it and for most of the rest of the round it’s he who’s getting the better of the action, landing the harder shots and working nicely with punches from the clinch.

While it’s the punches that were doing most of the damage Marquardt also nicely mixed in a spinning back kick to the body of Woodley which landed nicely mid-way through the round. He also secured a brief takedown later to ensure that this round was his.

Woodley came back strongly though in the third round, landing a good right that backs Marquardt up against the cage, followed by a punch that buckles his legs and sends him to the canvas.

Woodley was now on top and raining down blows as Marquardt tried to find a way out. In the he throws up his legs and looks for an armbar and that distracts Woodley enough to buy him some time. Woodley gets out of it easily though and continues to look for strikes, but there’s less urgency now and after a while the referee opts to stand them up.

This has the potential to go five rounds so Woodley isn’t going all out for a finish on the feet, and in fact it’s Marquardt who’s now pressing forward and seems to be in pretty good shape given that he was hurt just a couple of minutes earlier.

He gets his best work in right before the bell, getting Woodley up against the cage and firing off some hard elbow strikes to his head that land.

onto the championship rounds then and Marquardt’s definitely in the ascendency again as he finds a home for a body shot and a big right to follow.

Marquardt’s really turning up the pressure now with Woodley up against the cage. He then produces an impressive combo of strikes, started off by a series of three elbows that have Woodley rocked. A vicious left uppercut then takes Woodley’s legs out from under him, and a final crashing right uppercut follows behind it to definitively seal the deal and it’s all over with 1.39mins of the fourth round gone.