Roger Gracie's maiden voyage into the middleweight division was successful. The Brazilian went the distance for the first time in his career, and used his takedowns and dominant mat work to grind out a clear decision over veteran Keith Jardine at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy.
The judges scored it in his favor 29-27, 30-27, 30-26.
"I'm very happy," he said. "I was able to do my game plan."
Gracie got the fight to his desired position within the fight's opening minute, using Jardine's momentum against him to take the fight to the mat. Gracie scored with numerous strikes from the top, then achieved full mount and blasted Jardine with elbows that left him with multiple cuts.
Still, Jardine survived the round. Unfortunately for him, the second round was more of the same, as he charged his way into a takedown and spent the rest of the round fighting for survival, with Gracie completely dominating him on the ground, alternating between throwing strikes and searching for submissions.
Jardine's best round came in the third as Gracie seemed to have tired out a bit from his efforts at finishing the fight. Jardine landed from the outside and stayed away from Gracie's clinch, and keeping the fight on the feet certainly helped him, but after the first two rounds, he needed a finish and he couldn't get it, as Gracie got the judges' nod.
Gracie is now 5-1 after rebounding from his first career loss to Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal when he was competing at light-heavyweight.
Jardine is now 17-11-2. Since May 2007, Jardine has won only four of 14 fights.
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