Keith Jardine (file photo) drew with Gegard Mousasi on Saturday night. |

After accepting the bout on little more than one week’s notice, Keith Jardine fought Gegard Mousasi tooth-and-nail for three rounds at Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Daley” on Saturday night.

The bout was eventually ruled a majority draw on the judges’ scorecards, owing to a point deduction Mousasi received for landing an illegal upkick to Jardine’s jaw in the opening round of their 205-pound duel at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Calif.

Jardine’s coach, Mike Winkeljohn, begs to differ with the decision, point deduction notwithstanding.

“I thought Keith won the fight. I thought he won rounds one and two. I know round two was a little closer, but I thought he won the round,” Winkeljohn told following the contest. “I think a lot of people are always influenced by blood. Keith is a bleeder, but he’s fine. That just happens when Keith Jardine fights, and I think that people like that he comes to fight.”

The “Dean of Mean” had just begun his preliminary weight cut for a run at the 185-pound division when he received the offer to step in to take the injured Mike Kyle’s place against Mousasi. Without time for a proper training camp, Jardine’s lack of cardio plagued him throughout the contest.

“[Keith’s conditioning] had a huge effect on the fight. Honestly, when he moves like he [usually] does and comes in on angles, he doesn’t get hit. When he ran out of gas, his hands fell, he was standing still, and he found himself backing up at the wrong time and taking some punishment,” explained Winkeljohn. “It’s a [cardio] thing. I know for a fact that Keith had the capability to blast out of some of those positions in the third round, but he was so gassed.”

Asked if any true technical analysis could be extracted from a fight in which a lack of conditioning played such a heavy factor, Winkeljohn readily provided insight into some of Jardine’s strategic mistakes.

“I wish that, mentally, I could get [Jardine] to keep his hands up when he’s fatigued,” said Winkeljohn. “I would have liked a little more head movement and for him to not go to the Thai clinch in those situations and [instead] just drop for a takedown. He gets into a comfort zone in the Thai clinch, and he was taking too many punches there.”

Though the veteran sustained multiple cuts and bruises to his face, Jardine continued to press forward, even during the third round, when the effects of his fatigue were strongest.

“Keith’s got huge heart. He’s the captain of our team. He’s been around forever and he’s one of my favorite guys,” said Winkeljohn. “Taking the fight on such short notice tells you about his heart. He wants to fight. He’s that guy.”

As for his fighter’s future, Winkeljohn says Jardine’s eyes are focused on the Strikeforce middleweight title. Due to the unsatisfying nature of the draw with Mousasi, however, those plans could change.

“Everybody is talking about a potential rematch. Our goal to start with was to go to 185 and reinvent ourselves, but things could change. But what I’d like to see happen is for us to get a [middleweight] fight in Strikeforce and then get a shot at the title,” said Winkeljohn. “With Keith going to 185 pounds, we’re going to make a statement. People are going to be real surprised at what he can pull off.”

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