"The Dean of Mean" took the bout on just over a week's notice and it showed, as the Greg Jackson product lost his wind after just one round in the cage with "The Dreamcatcher."
That didn't stop him from pushing forward, gaining takedowns while wading through punches. Winklejohn tells Sherdog that was enough to win the fight:
"I thought Keith won the fight. I thought he won rounds one and two. I know round two was a little closer, but I thought he won the round. I think a lot of people are always influenced by blood. Keith is a bleeder, but he's fine. That just happens when Keith Jardine fights, and I think that people like that he comes to fight."
It was a close fight, no question, but is Coach Mike's bias bleeding through?
Whether the judges agreed with him or not, though, he did see a few issues in Jardine's game, namely his conditioning and the way in which he reacts to extreme fatigue:
"[Keith's conditioning] had a huge effect on the fight. Honestly, when he moves like he [usually] does and comes in on angles, he doesn't get hit. When he ran out of gas, his hands fell, he was standing still, and he found himself backing up at the wrong time and taking some punishment. It's a [cardio] thing. I know for a fact that Keith had the capability to blast out of some of those positions in the third round, but he was so gassed. I wish that, mentally, I could get [Jardine] to keep his hands up when he's fatigued."
Scott Coker commented after the fight that a rematch just might be in order. After all, Gegard Mousasi was likely to receive a title shot if he were to come away victorious.
As for Jardine, he was headed down to 185-pounds before accepting this late notice booking -- a decision that came back to bite him in the ass.
His toughness and heart shone through but the judges don't award points for hanging in when taking an absurd amount of punishment, as evidenced by his swollen face when all was said and done.
Should there be an immediate rematch to sort this thing out? Or are there better options for Mousasi and Jardine, respectively?