I am holding off on all betting on this weekend’s Strikeforce main event for the Middleweight Title between champion Luke Rockhold and the challenger Keith Jardine until after I see tomorrow’s weigh ins. I want to get a good look at Jardine at the weigh ins to see how he handles the weight cut down to 185 lbs. I’m favoring Jardine in this match, but that could all change if he has issues making the weight. Jardine is on the north side of 35 years old, and he has never made 185 lbs in his MMA career. He is a pro, so he may do the weight cut just fine, but what if he doesn’t? It reminds me of a story.
The date was January 8th, 1999 and the event was UFC 18. Pat Miletich was taking on Jorge ‘Macaco’ Patino in a bout at 170 lbs. The weigh ins were at a local gym a few blocks from the hotel, and I drove Pat and Laverne Clark to the weigh ins in my rental. Like Jardine, Pat was also in his mid thirties, and he had been cutting weight all his life as a wrestler, but he was looking gaunt and drawn on the ride to the place.
The UFC held a press conference prior to the weigh ins and the fighters sat grumpily waiting. Miletich however was the worse off and looked to be fading fast, and he was nodding off. Matchmaker Jon Perreti elected to move the weigh ins up, closing out the press conference early. Miletich was the first fighter weighed, and he did make weight. However, at 36, the cut had taken it’s toll. He won the fight, but would continue to struggle with the recovery he could no longer do.
The risk for Jardine is a bit greater. Jardine has never been to 185 lbs in his MMA career, whereas Miletich had consistently cut to 170 lbs and struggled with it only late in his career. Will Jardine even make the weight? Remember in a title fight, Jardine will not get the one pound cushion, and must make 185 lbs or less.
If he makes the weight, will the twenty four hour recovery period be enough for Jardine, or will he tire and show wear during the fight? After all, Jardine’s style is a very grinding, “hard on the body” style, and if he isn’t fully recovered from a tough weight cut, he may not be able to fight his fight. Jardine is going to have to hurt Rockhold and he is going to have to absorb some punishment to do it, in my opinion. He is going to have to be sharp physically in order to exploit his experience advantages.
So come Friday afternoon, I’m going to want to see how Jardine looks at the weigh ins. If he handles it well, my money will be on Jardine to walk away from this bout as the new Strikeforce Middleweight Champion.