Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva
Prediction: Silva, Rd.2 by KO
Result: Silva, Rd. 1 by KO
The co-main event didn’t quite live up to its billing, and Silva performed as powerfully as I expected him to. Jardine looked like he hoped to win the fight early by rushing in with a lot of punches, but none of them looked hard or fast enough to put Silva down. A single leg kick from the Brazilian, however, seemed to keep Jardine on the outside for the rest of the fight. Jardine keeps his hands low and open as he fights, I’m still not sure if it’s just his natural style, or if he’s trying to bait his opponents into rushing in and capitalize on their offensive. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work with Silva, who moved in quickly and efficiently, countering a body kick easily and taking the fight to the ground.
Jardine is said to have a good ground game, but Silva passed to half-guard relatively easily. Jardine did manage to turn Silva over and bring the fight back to their feet, but it looks like he began feeling frustrated with the way things were going. He began to close the distance and exchanging punches with Silva, which I immediately thought was a bad idea. Swinging wide and not protecting his head, he was floored by a hard left hook counter by Silva. Pouncing on his chance, Silva fell into a sort of open guard position and started laying punches into Jardine’s face, knocking him out on his back.
While he fought hard, I don’t see Jardine as ever being more than a gatekeeper for the light-heavyweight division. He doesn’t have the powerful stand-up game that the top-tier 205ers have, and even if his ground game is underrated, he’s never been able to put it on display for us to see. Really, I can’t imagine a situation where he would ever be in the position to fight for the belt, much less wear it. It’s unfortunate, but unless Jardine can really improve his boxing ability to fight with the likes of Silva and Machida, he’ll be stuck in the middle of the pack for the rest of his career.