Fighters will meet for vacant 170-pound title in July
Strikeforce announced the fight Saturday as part of the Showtime broadcast of the heavyweight grand prix final in San Jose, Calif. Marquardt will make his UFC debut against Woodley, and the winner will be the new welterweight champion. The bout will take place on the promotion’s recently announced July 14 card in Portland, Ore.
That card also features a middleweight title fight between champion Luke Rockhold and top contender Tim Kennedy as the main event. Plus, former middleweight title challenger Robbie Lawler takes on Lorenz Larkin and Roger Gracie fights Keith Jardine. The event takes place at the Rose Garden in Portland with a main card broadcast live on Showtime and prelims on Showtime Extreme.
Marquardt (31-10-2) will make his Strikeforce debut and will fight for the first time since a March 2011 win over Dan Miller at UFC 128. Marquardt went 10-4 in his long middleweight stint with the UFC, including a 185-pound title shot against Anderson Silva.
After his win over Miller, he decided to make the drop to welterweight. But on the morning of the weigh-ins for his UFC on Versus 4 main event against Rick Story last June in Pittsburgh, he was forced out of the fight when he didn’t get medical clearance. UFC president Dana White released Marquardt from the promotion almost immediately afterward. After the incident, Marquardt revealed he had been given doctor-administered testosterone replacement therapy, but his levels were too high for the Pennsylvania commission on the day of weigh-ins.
Marquardt signed with BAMMA and was booked for a fight with Yoshiyuki Yoshida, but that fight never materialized and Marquardt asked to be released from his contract with the British promotion. He was, which opened the door for his return to Zuffa under the Strikeforce banner.
Woodley (10-0, 8-0 Strikef0rce) remains unbeaten following a split decision win over Jordan Mein in January at Strikeforce’s show in Las Vegas. After starting his career with stoppages in six of his first seven wins, Woodley now has won three straight by decision and four of his last five. In 2011, he put himself on the map with unanimous decision wins over Tarec Saffiedine and Paul Daley. Woodley was a two-time All America selection while wrestling at Missouri.