Luke Rockhold will return to action on Jan 7 to defend his Strikeforce middleweight title against former UFC fighter Keith Jardine.
Sources close to the situation confirmed the booking to MMAWeekly.com late Thursday evening.
Rockhold won the title last September in a five round war with former champion Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, and this will be his first title defense.
While there was some speculation what would happen with Strikeforce after the promotion was purchased by Zuffa earlier this year, all signs are pointing towards a future for the organization and it begins with this show in 2012.
Former UFC and ‘Ultimate Fighter’ competitor Keith Jardine will make his debut at 185lbs when he meets Rockhold in January.
Jardine signed with Strikeforce earlier this year when he stepped in on short notice to face former light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi. Despite taking the fight on 10-days notice, Jardine fought to a draw with Mousasi in a back and forth battle.
Now Jardine will get his shot at the Strikeforce middleweight title when he faces Rockhold in January.
While bout agreements have not been signed, sources have indicated that the fighters have verbally agreed to the new fight set for Jan 7 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.