These “Quick Breaks” are short breakdowns of upcoming fights. In a summed up focus of strengths, weaknesses and variables; this will analyze what could happen in the fight, and end with this writer’s prediction.
This Saturday, Luke Rockhold will be defending his newly attained Strikeforce Middleweight Championship against former UFC veteran, Keith Jardine. While the choice of opponent is a little unclear as to how this title match came into fruition, nevertheless Jardine will be now at Middleweight fighting for the title after a draw against Gegard Mousasi.
Rockhold is a well-rounded fighter, which he has proven in the cage over and over. He has excellent submissions, but can finish a fight with his hands. He pulled an upset over former champ Ronaldo Souza, proving that his long layoff of over a year and a half did not faze him too much. He has rear-naked choked his way to the top, with a couple TKO’s to accent it. A great wrestler and submission artist, his advantage will be on the ground.
Jardine has had quite the up and downs of his career these past few years, only winning three of his last ten fights. He was on a two-fight winning streak prior to the draw, and now has a title shot ahead of him. Jardine has always possessed a unique part of his game that has been advantageous, and dangerous for him throughout his career; his unorthodox striking.
Jardine will want to keep this standing as much as possible. While not a master on the ground by any means, he still possesses a ground game. Not a strong enough one to test against Rockhold necessarily, but it is worthy to note that in Jardine’s 28 fights, he has never been submitted. Sadly, his career at this stage in his life, is going the way of Liddell, where his name is becoming bigger than his actual fighting, and he is losing by KO/TKO.
Does he still have it in him to win? Yes, but at 36 and fighting since 2001, against the 27 year old Rockhold who started in 2007; father time tends to favor the current champ. Jardine most certainly gets the experience advantage, but that only plays so much of a role. Think of the same concept of “experience wins” and apply it to Jon Jones if he were fighting Liddell, Couture, Franklin, etc. At some point, too much experience means you are past when the experience’s value is truly brought forth.
At the end of the day, if Rockhold can get inside and take Jardine down, he could issue the first submission loss of his career. If Jardine can keep his distance and catch him with strikes coming from different angles, he could put Rockhold away.
Reach is about the same, but Rockhold might have a technical advantage in striking. It is very possible Rockhold could hurt him early and either TKO Jardine, or follow him as he is hurt to the ground and lock on a submission. Jardine could also win via KO in the first round as well. The fight should be more interesting than many are making it out to be, and has great potential for ending early.
Prediction: Luke Rockhold wins via submission about 4 minutes into the first round.
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(photo from Strikeforce.com)