Gegard Mousasi was the clear favorite going into his fight with late replacement Keith Jardine tonight at Strikeforce: Diaz Vs Daley, but the UFC veteran would not go quietly and managed to come away with a draw.
Taking a leaf out of ‘King Mo’s’ playbook, who exposed a weakness in Mousasi’s game to wrestling, Jardine utilized takedowns throughout the fight with some success.
The problem was that he wasn’t as effective as King Mo at controlling the former champion on the ground, and more often than not Mousasi was quickly back to his feet without sustaining any real damage.
Meanwhile, after a slow start Mousasi began to settle into his striking game, and in the closing minutes of the first round he began to find a home for some powerful straight rights and flurries of hooks from inside which clearly hurt Jardine and by the end of the round he was bleeding from both eyes.
An illegal upkick from Mousasi late in the round after a Jardine takedown forced the referee to hand him a point deduction which would prove costly later.
In the second and third rounds Mousasi really began to stalk his opponent and turn the screw as Jardine, who had accepted the fight on a weeks notice, began to visibly tire and offered little offensively other than his takedowns.
The ex-UFC fighter displayed plenty of heart, determination and toughness though to take everything Mousasi threw at him and still remain standing by the final bell, albeit exhausted and bleeding from multiple wounds to his face.
And so it went to the judges scorecards who rendered a rather unsatisfactory majority draw ruling, with Mousasi’s point deduction being the spanner in the works.
It’s a disappointing result for Mousasi who had been looking to solidify himself as the No.1 contender at light-heavyweight to take on current champion Dan Henderson later in the year.
Meanwhile for Jardine the draw will be seen as somewhat of a victory given the lack of time he had to prepare.