by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Though he came up short on judges’ scorecards, Keith Jardine won a moral victory against Quinton Jackson at UFC 96 by sticking with the game plan and staying in the fight when things got tough.
“The fight went pretty close to the way I thought it would go,” Jardine said at the UFC 96 post-fight presser.
In the past, he had paid for straying from his plan. Wanderlei Silva ended his night early at UFC 84 when he went against coaches’
advice, exposing himself to punches with a leg kick.
Though he got dropped twice moving backwards, eating the left hook that put Silva down and out at UFC 92, he got in and out against
Jackson, giving him little time to finish. And like many of his best performances, he threw unorthodox punches that scored, and punished Jackson’s legs through much of the fight.
“Just enough to go down, but I never lost consciousness or anything,” Jardine said about the first hook. “I remember, he was on top of me, throwing some punches, and I was thinking about catching him in a submission and heck with that, I better get up. That’s all I remember about that.”
The hardest pill to swallow was the momentum shift in the third round, after he began to take control with leg kicks and more hit-and-run attacks. Jackson’s second hook dropped him in the final seconds of the round, leaving a lasting impression on the judges.
“I’m pretty pissed off right now,” he said. “One of the judges told me I lost the fight in the last 10 seconds and that’s pretty hard
to take. It was a tough fight. I thought I did everything right. I trained for this fight. I thought I was on tonight.
“I knew it was close, but I don’t play the points game. I always try and break my guy and knock him out. So I knew it was close, but I
wasn’t going to be dancing around. I was going for it and got caught I guess.”
According to Dana White, it’s back to the drawing board for Jardine. But when he heals up, he’ll still have a job.
If Jackson accepts a fight with Rashad Evans, Jardine will be rooting for his friend.
“Of course I’m partial to that question,” Jardine commented on his pick to win. “Much respect to Quinton, he’s one of the superstars of the sport, but of course I think Rashad is going to do well in that fight.”