Roger Gracie subdues Jardine at Strikeforce, even if leaving it to “the last minute”

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Roger Gracie com a equipe no Strikeforce, após a luta: Renzo, Joinha Guimarães, Ed Soares, Rilion e Chinzo Machida abraçam o vencedor.

Roger, his shorts soaked in blood, with his team at Strikeforce in Portland, Oregon: Renzo, Joinha, Ed Soares, Rilion and Chinzo Machida / Personal archive photo

The Strikeforce promotion put on a memorable evening in Portland, Oregon, thanks to the two title fights; a handful of ex-UFC fighters; a win from Ryan Couture, the son of a legend; and the Gracie on the card. In the audience, stars like MC Hammer brightened up the night.

Roger Gracie made his debut as a middleweight and demonstrated confidence, after suffering a knockout at the hands of King Mo and bidding farewell to the light heavyweight division. Having done a stint training with Lyoto Machida at Black House in Los Angeles, Roger displayed his newfound skill at slipping punches and safely closed the distance on Keith Jardine to take him to the ground.

With exception to the third round, Roger managed to wrestle his opponent to the ground and masterfully control the former UFC fighter throughout. Round one saw him mount and rain punches and elbows down on Jardine’s face, opening up gashes in the process. The Gracie looked set to bring a close to the bout in the final seconds, but the bell cut short his attack.

In the scond round, Roger got his chin out of harm’s way in the nick of time and again drug Jardine down. There, the Gracie saw his best shot at a decisive win, mounting, sinking his hooks, then a figure-four around the waist, before mounting and launching an arm-and-neck-choke assault. Again the bell sounded, and the five minutes of the round were not enough to conclude the encounter.

In the third and final round, with both fighters showing fatigue, Roger only managed to keep Jardine at a distance with jabs and push kicks, biding his time till the final bell.

“I’m glad I got to put my game to practice. I took him to the ground and controlled him but he was slippery from so much blood and knew how to hang on. I kind of wore out in the third round, but I think I left a few too many kilos to lose till the last minute, and that resulted in my fatiguing at the end,” explained Roger while still in the gray cage. “But I’m satisfied; every time I step into the ring to represent Jiu-Jitsu and my family makes me happy.”

When it was all over, the score cards came in deeming the three-time absolute world champion of Jiu-Jitsu the victor by unanimous decision.

“It’s a really important result for me, especially because I’m coming off a knockout loss. Keith’s a tough guy who’s beaten a lot of good guys before. I hope to tire less next time around. I was affected some by the weight-cut. That’s the biggest lesson for me in this fight—cutting weight properly and smoothly. It was good that he got tired too, though,” remarked Roger.

In the rest of the card, former UFC star Nate Marquardt had his work cut out for him in overcoming a game Tyron Woodley and his mother, who cheered the fighter on from start to finish. Following a three-round, back-and-forth standup firefight, the fourth frame saw Marquardt land two elbows that unseated Woodley, and a hook sealed the deal.

Now in the evening’s main event, Luke Rockhold got the better of Tim Kennedy for five rounds and took the unanimous decision. Check out the complete results:

Portland, Oregon, USA
July 14, 2012

Luke Rockhold defeated Tim Kennedy via unanimous judges’ decision;
Nate Marquardt defeated Tyron Woodley via KO in R4;
Roger Gracie defeated Keith Jardine via unanimous decision;
Lorenz Larkin defeated Robbie Lawler via unanimous judges’ decision;
Jorge Masvidal defeated Justin Wilcox via split decision;
Pat Healy defeated Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision;
Jordan Mein defeated Tyler Stinson via unanimous decision;
Jason High tapped out Nate Moore via guillotine in R1;
Ryan Couture defeated Joe Duarte via split decision.

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