Business as Usual for Jardine Against Silva
Preview by Brady Crytzer
The Ultimate Fighting Championship makes its first appearance in the state of Oregon as it presents a card the highlights the past, the present, and the future. In the main event former champions collide as Randy Couture meets Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but the real action is in the undercard. With the light heavyweight title in a state of constant flux a contender can emerge in the blink of an eye. The evening’s co-feature may be that blink. 205 lb. standouts Keith Jardine and Thiago Silva will do battle in an attempt to get back in the title hunt and cement their place in the light heavyweight division.
In some battles there is a clear indication as to which direction the fight will go. This isn’t one of them. Since his UFC debut in 2005, Jardine has used his record setting leg kicks and unorthodox striking style to give opponents like Stephan Bonnar, Chuck Liddell and most recently “Rampage” Jackson fits inside the cage. In some cases, as seen in his 2006 bout against Forrest Griffin, he has even used it to stop them in their tracks. Silva on the other hand has only tasted defeat in his most recent outing against Lyoto Machida. Prior to meeting “The Dragon” in January, Silva has used methodical straight punches and a nasty attitude to stop the likes of James Irvin, Thomas Drwal, and Houston Alexander in brutal fashion.
This bout is a contrast of styles between the unorthodox (yet effective) Jardine and the traditional Silva. Although Silva has been successful against straight-laced opposition, Jardine has proven that his bizarre approach is the perfect strategy to confusing even the most fundamentally sound challengers. Jardine gets the nod in this category.
While his striking has been electric, the jiu jitsu of Silva remains his most dangerous weapon. Completely underrated, Silva’s submission mastery rarely comes through in his Octagon appearances. What does shine through is his understanding of control and position as seen in his 2007 demolition of Houston Alexander. After securing a sturdy mount, Silva unloaded with a brutal series of punches that sent “The Assassin” into the abyss.
Jardine is a strong fighter with a slight edge in wrestling, but he is unlikely to accomplish much from his back against the Brazilian. If Silva gets on top, he will remain firmly in the driver’s seat.
How They Match Up
There is something about “The Dean of Mean” that drive opponents crazy. Whether it is the natural instinct to underestimate him or the impossible task of preparing for him, Jardine has found success just by being consistently inconsistent.
Challengers of Jardine tend to have a sound gameplan…until they fight him. By employing unconventional tactics and constantly changing rhythms, opponents are forced to adapt their strategies on the spot.
The only way to soundly defeat Jardine is to devise a plan and stick to it. No questions asked.
Or, like Houston Alexander in 2007 and Wanderlai Silva in 2008, you can jump on him early and blow him out with homerun punches.
Don’t expect that from Thiago Silva.
Look for Jardine to spend most the fight keeping Silva guessing en route to walking away with a clear decision.