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UFC 71: Keith Jardine vs. Houston Alexander

Keith Jardine (12-2-1) looks to continue his winning ways against UFC newcomer Houston Alexander (6-1) at UFC 71 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 26 according to

That collective groan heard across the Web comes from a frustrated fan base (including myself) that was hoping for a more suitable opponent for the "Dean of Mean."

After his unexpected technical knockout of Forrest Griffin, Jardine was expected to go to the head of the 205-pound class. Jardine's original opponent -- the undefeated David Heath -- was an emergency replacement for the staph-infected Forrest Griffin at UFC 70.

While I'm sure Alexander wasn't the first name out of the hat, I'm surprised the current roster was unable to produce a prepared or perhaps willing fighter.

This scenario is eerily reminiscent of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 when Dana needed a replacement opponent for Michael Bisping and both Kristian Rothaermel and Tait Fletcher declined the offer citing lack of focus and preparation.

I guess Ross Pointon wasn't available this time around.

This is not to disrespect Alexander who at 6-1 with three (T)KO's is a competent fighter. But he has to not only face a rising star in Jardine but also shake off the debut jitters.

I know the clichés about being the underdog and the pressure is on Jardine but let's be honest with ourselves: this is a fight that Jardine should win nine times out of 10.

For more on the UFC 71 fight card click here.

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