Perennial light heavyweight contender Keith Jardine (14-5-1) has been tapped to replace Forrest Griffin in a 205-pound slugfest against hard-hitting Brazilian import Thiago Silva (13-1) at UFC 102 from The Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, on August 29, MMAmania.com has learned.
Griffin and Silva were originally set to hook 'em up at UFC 101 in Philadelphia on August 8 -- until the bat phone rang in Joe Silva's office and demanded that Anderson Silva redeem himself for consecutive stand-and-bland performances at UFC 90 and 97.
Thiago was temporarily left without a date for the prom, but the UFC made good on their swap by pitting him against the "Dean of Mean," as well as a few extra weeks to prepare for his new foe.
Despite dropping a close unanimous decision to former light heavyweight champ Quinton Jackson at UFC 96, the Greg Jackson-disciple has done his share to be atop the 205-pound ladder, putting together a solid record of (6-4) during his time in the Octagon. His resume is highlighted with wins over some of the top names in the sport such as Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Brandon Vera and others.
His next appearance at UFC 102 will continue his (mis?)fortune of drawing dangerous opponents.
Silva has made a habit of demolishing his challengers. Before getting stopped at UFC 94 "St. Pierre vs. Penn 2″ by uber-enigma Lyoto Machida on January 31, Silva had finished 12 of his 13 fights, including 10 (T)KO’s.
Silva brings the fierce Chute Boxe aggression into his fights (even though he is now no longer with the camp). He has an explosive mix of punches and kicks, which can often leave him open to counter strikes.
However, Silva has proven that he can take punishment and dish out more … just ask Tomasz Drwal, Houston Alexander and Antonio Mendes.
UFC 102 is expected to feature a main event between Randy "The Natural" Couture as he locks horns with Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira in a dream match-up that most fans expected to see at UFC 98 on May 23 before Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir played spoiler roles in the opening round of the mini heavyweight tournament created in late 2008 to crown an undisputed division champion.
Jardine, Silva, Couture and Nogueira. UFC 102 is beginning to shape up quite nicely — and we’re still four months away.
For more on UFC 102 click here.