We previously reported nonlinear correlations between verbal episodic memory performance and BOLD signal in memory fMRI in healthy subjects. The purpose of the present study was to examine this observation in patients with left mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) who often experience memory decline and need reliable prediction tools before epilepsy surgery with hippocampectomy. Fifteen patients with left mTLE (18-57years, nine females) underwent a verbal memory fMRI paradigm. Correlations between BOLD activity and neuropsychological data were calculated for the i) hippocampus (HC) as well as ii) extrahippocampal mTL structures. Memory performance was systematically associated with activations within the right HC as well as with activations within the left extrahippocampal mTL regions (amygdala and parahippocampal gyrus). As hypothesized, the analyses revealed cubic relationships, with one peak in patients with marginal memory performance and another peak in patients with very good performance. The nonlinear correlations between memory performance and activations might reflect the compensatory recruitment of neural resources to maintain memory performance in patients with ongoing memory deterioration. The present data suggest an already incipient preoperative reorganization process of verbal memory in non-amnesic patients with left mTLE by simultaneously tapping the resources of the right HC and left extrahippocampal mTL regions. Thus, in the preoperative assessment, both neuropsychological performance and memory fMRI should be considered together.