If you wanted a battle at Strikeforce on Saturday night, light heavyweights Gegard Mousasi and Keith Jardine absolutely delivered.
The only downside of their three round war was that it ended in a majority draw after a point deduction in the first session cost Gegard Mousasi the chance at a win.
Stepping up on short notice, former UFC contender Keith Jardine showed up in San Diego ready for the test ahead against Mousasi, and looked very strong in the early part of the fight. Jardine, who has stated over the past few months that he wants to start fighting smarter, showed off a different part of his game by taking Mousasi to the ground several times.
It was during one of those exchanges on the ground that Mousasi threw an upkick, clocking Jardine on the chin. The referee stopped the action immediately and eventually deducted a point from Mousasi for the illegal move.
When the fight was over, that point meant the difference between a draw and a victory.
Mousasi controlled the majority of the fight with stiff punches and an aggressive striking attack. Turning Jardine’s face into hamburger, Mousasi didn’t fade much as the fight wore on, but during an exchange in the third round after hurting Jardine he went for a takedown instead of following up with punches.
Mousasi finished strong, but Jardine deserves a large amount of credit for stepping up on literally a week’s notice to face arguably one of the top ten light heavyweights in the world.
For his part, Gegard Mousasi apologized to Jardine for the illegal kick in the first round, and was gracious towards his opponent even though most felt he did enough to take home the win.
“Keith is an amazing fighter and I want to thank him for taking the fight,” Mousasi commented.
The fight ended in a draw but also results in two more actions.
First, Keith Jardine will now get another shot in the Strikeforce cage after taking this fight on short notice. The second thing is that if Gegard Mousasi was in the running to face Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson in July, a draw on Saturday night virtually guarantees he won’t get that fight.