Although Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was reluctant to confirm a January 7th show during Tuesday’s conference call, the organization officially announced the event on Thursday. Luke Rockhold will make his first middleweight title defense when he faces Keith Jardine in the night’s featured attraction.
The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada will play host.
Rockhold took the crown from Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza this past September. Since serving up the upset special, the 26-year-old has continued fine-tuning his game at the famed American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California and his anxious to showcase his refined skills.
“Jardine is a big name who’s fought a lot of tough guys in this sport,” Rockhold said. “I’m not going to sleep on him or this opportunity. This isn’t just another fight for me, I’ve wanted my chance to prove I’m a champion and a five-round title defense is the way to do it. You can expect this fight to be nothing short of spectacular.”
Jardine is coming off a highly controversial draw against former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Gegard Mousasi. The April fight seems to have has rejuvenated the veteran.
“I’ve completely rededicated myself to this sport,” said Jardine. “I’ve sacrificed a lot to be where I am and I want to make the most of it. A title shot against Rockhold is a huge opportunity that I’m not going to waste. Luke’s a tough kid and he beat a tough opponent in Jacare, but he doesn’t fight like I do and he’s never had an opponent push him like I will. This will end with me imposing my will on him in a way he’s never seen.”
In addition, Robbie Lawler vs. Adlan Amagov, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Lorenz Larkin and Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyler Stinson were also announced for the lineup.