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UFC 96: Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson vs. Keith Jardine Preview and Prediction

Quinton Jackson vs. Keith Jardine
Rampage Nickname The Dean of Mean
29-7 Record 14-4-1
3-3 Common opponents
2-1
No. 2 light heavyweight
Rank No. 7 light heavyweight
14-3 (T)KO Record 6-3
7-1 Sub. Record 2-0
8-2 Dec. Record 6-1-1
W-1 Streak W-1
205 Weight 205
6-1 Height 6-2
30 Age 33
Wolfslair Camp Team Jackson
Memphis Hometown Butte, Montana

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will fight Keith Jardine on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 96. The full preview is below.

Do common opponents tell us anything?
Possibly. Rampage has gone 1-2 against Wanderlei Silva, 2-0 against Chuck Liddell and 0-1 against Forrest Griffin. Jardine has beaten Liddell and Griffin and lost to Silva. I've watched all of those fights recently, and I think they highlight the differences between Jackson and Jardine, but they don't necessarily give us much insight into who's going to win this one.

What's at stake for Jackson: It's simple: If he wins, he fights Rashad Evans for the UFC light heavyweight title, most likely at UFC 100.

What's at stake for Jardine: It's complicated: Beating Rampage would solidify Jardine as one of the best light heavyweights in the world. There aren't many fighters who have a better collection of wins over the last three years than Liddell, Griffin, Rampage, Wilson Gouveia and Brandon Vera. But Jardine also has a pair of ugly knockout losses, and there's also the little matter of Jardine saying he doesn't even want a title shot because of his friendship with Evans. Jardine is a hard guy to classify in the light heavyweight division.

Jardine says about Jackson
: "He's put a lot of guys to sleep, but I've done pretty well myself, so ... I'm not ready to concede that he has better punching power."

Why Jackson is favored: Jackson's greatest strength is his punching power. Jardine's greatest weakness is his chin. That's a recipe for a quick knockout.

Why Jardine could pull the upset: Like all Team Jackson fighters, Jardine is good at crafting game plans that involve a healthy dose of leg kicks -- which Jackson in the past has been vulnerable to.

Jackson Links:
Official site | UFC profile | Sherdog record | Wikipedia entry

Jardine Links:
Official site | UFC profile | Sherdog record | Wikipedia entry

Prediction: Logically, the most likely result would seem to be Jackson connecting with a vicious punch that knocks Jardine out cold. And yet I think Jardine's ability to stay outside and connect with kicks could give Rampage fits. Call me crazy, but I'm picking Jardine in a big upset.