Luke Rockhold vs. Keith Jardine likely for January 7thPosted on December 2, 2011, 03:45 PM by Joey Santosus
Newly crowned Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold will look to make his first title defense when he meets UFC veteran Keith Jardine in January.
MMAFighting.com first reported the bout, citing sources close to the situation.
Rockhold (8-1) was last seen in action taking a unanimous decision over Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza to capture the title back in September. The victory marked his seventh-straight under the Strikeforce banner, many of which were accumulated while competing on the promotion's Challengers series.
Though the ATT product was initially expected to square off with Tim Kennedy, reports indicate that Kennedy was forced to decline the offer due to an undisclosed injury.
Jardine (17-9-2), meanwhile, appeared to be on the fast-track to a UFC title shot, racking up victories over such high-profile opponents as Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, and Brandon Vera, before a four-fight losing slump resulted in his release from the organization. In the time since, "The Dean of Mean" has posted a 2-1-1 mark, most recently fighting to a draw with Gegard Mousasi at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley. The fight with Rockhold will be Jardine's first at 185-pounds.
While the event is not yet official, Strikeforce is expected to make their 2012 return on January 7th from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Middleweight title fight between Rockhold and Jardine is likely to serve as the card's headliner.