Roger Gracie showed off his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tonight in his Strikeforce middleweight debut, dominating Keith Jardine in the early rounds to secure a unanimous decision victory.
The first 90 seconds or so of the opening round were fought on the feet, but then Gracie saw the opportunity to get a body lock on Jardine and with a sweep was able to drop him to the mat in half guard.
Gracie was attempting to improve his postition, but Jardine did a nice job of keeping him in half guard as he slowly shifted himself towards the cage and then used it to stand back up.
That didn’t put off Gracie however as he simply locked up again and used another leg trip to get him down again.
This time Gracie was able to be more effective on the mat, managing to trap one of Jardine’s hands behind him from side mount allowing him to fire off some blows directly to his face without his opponent being able to defend himself.
Then Gracie achieved full mount and in the final stages of the round began landing some good elbow strikes which left Jardine’s face bloodied as the bell sounded.
In the second round Jardine looked to impose his will on Gracie by coming in aggressively with strikes, but Gracie simply ducked and yet again was able to seize the body lock and bring him down.
It wasn’t long before Jardine, who was bleeding again, gave up his back and Gracie patiently worked from here, eventually locking in the body triangle to secure the position. Gracie tries for a choke, but he struggles to get it and the fact that Jardiine is covered in blood isn’t helping him.
With the round drawing to a close Gracie looked to change things up, switching back to mount and looking for an arm triangle, but he can’t quite get it and so settles for posturing up in the mount and dropping down some more elbows on Jardine’s head.
Jardine needed to do something big in the third round, and the good news for him was that he was able to keep it standing.
Both men were looking tired now, but Gracie in particular looked to be running out of steam. Jardine was able to take advantage, digging a nice shot to his body and shortly afterwards hurting him with a punch to the head which spurred Gracie on try a takedown, but this time he was unsuccessful.
Gracie was breathing hard, but he was still using his long jab to keep Jardine at bay along with the occasional knee when he got in close, and it seemed as if ‘The Dean Of Mean’ didn’t have enough in reserve to really press forward and go all out to get a stoppage.
So, it goes to the judges and a couple of them saw the second round as a 10-8 for Gracie as he earns a unanimous decision win (29-27, 30-27, 30-26).