Luke Rockhold became the fifth man to knock out Keith Jardine since 2007. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Luke Rockhold may not yet be a household name in mixed martial arts, but he has made it clear that he doesn’t plan on giving up his Strikeforce middleweight title anytime soon. Rockhold stopped UFC veteran Keith Jardine with punches in the first round in the Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Jardine” main event at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Rockhold was clearly the more athletic fighter from the outset, throwing flashy kicks before stunning his foe with a right hand late in the first round. The champion didn’t let up, attacking “The Dean of Mean” with a flurry of punches as Jardine attempted to recover against the cage before the contest was stopped at the 4:26 mark.
While Rockhold’s reign appears to be just beginning, it was a return to form for knockout artist Robbie Lawler. The hard hitting Illinois resident rocked Adlan Amagov with a flying knee in the first round of their middleweight bout before finishing his opponent with punches on the ground. Muhammed Lawal and Tyron Woodley also scored key victories to set themselves up for potential title shots in their respective divisions. Here’s a by the numbers look at Saturday's Strikeforce card, with statistic provided courtesy of FightMetric.com.
20: Significant strikes by which Rockhold outlanded Jardine. The American Kickboxing Academy representative also scored two knockdowns before Herb Dean stopped the fight in the first round.
1,036: Days since Jardine held a striking advantage against an opponent on a UFC or Strikeforce card. At UFC 96 in 2009, “The Dean of Mean” landed 64 power strikes to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s 56 in a unanimous decision loss.
8: First-round finishes in nine career fights for Rockhold, who stopped Jardine at the 4:26 mark of round one. The only time Rockhold has gone past the opening frame occurred last September, when he captured the middleweight title in a five-round victory over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
5: Knockout or TKO losses for Jardine in 13 fights since 2007. Houston Alexander, Wanderlei Silva, Thiago Silva, Ryan Bader and now Rockhold have all ended the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts product’s night in emphatic fashion. Of those five, only Jardine’s UFC 110 bout with Bader lasted past the first round.
2: Strikeforce champions on the promotion’s last two cards who have declared their desire to face talent from the UFC in the near future. After beating Jorge Masvidal on Dec. 17, lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez expressed an interest in facing opponents from the Las Vegas-based organization, and Rockhold followed suit after beating Jardine on Saturday night.
3: Vacant Strikeforce titles, not including heavyweight, after UFC President Dana White said on Friday that women’s 145-pound champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos would be stripped of the belt due to a failed steroid test. The light heavyweight and welterweight divisions also lack champions.
.842: Percentage of Robbie Lawler’s career wins that have come by way of knockout or technical knockout. The 29-year-old middleweight needed just 1:48 to dispatch Adlan Amagov with a flying knee on Saturday.
2: Takedowns by Amagov against Lawler, the first time “Ruthless” has been taken down in victory in his Strikeforce career.
5: Documented victories for Lawler on FightMetric.com in which he has landed less than 10 significant strikes, after connecting six times in his win over Amagov. Similar efforts came in victories against Tiki Ghosn (five strikes landed), Joey Villasenor (three), Melvin Manhoef (three) and Matt Lindland (eight).
36: Significant strikes by which Muhammed Lawal outlanded Lorenz Larkin in their light heavyweight bout. The former Strikeforce title holder connected on 67 percent of his power strikes en route to a second-round stoppage.
.701: Total striking accuracy for Tyron Woodley in his split-decision triumph over Jordan Mein. The St. Louis native connected on no less than 26 strikes in each round while smothering his 21-year-old foe with dominant top control.
4: Decision victories in his last five appearances for Woodley. The American Top Team Evolution representative began his career with five straight finishes, all by submission.
114: Total strikes by which Tarec Saffiedine outlanded Tyler Stinson over the second and third rounds of their 170-pound tussle. The Belgian took Stinson to the ground in both frames, where he landed the majority of his punches. Stinson outlanded Saffiedine 19 to 18 in round one.
6: Takedowns landed by James Terry in his contentious split-decision loss to Nah-Shon Burrell. The Cung Le protégé took down Burrell three times in the first round and twice in the second, while landing 16 significant strikes to his opponent’s 18 over that same period of time.
23: Power strikes by which Burrell outlanded Terry in the third frame of their welterweight affair. Terry connected on just five of his 36 significant strikes thrown in the final stanza.
7: First-round finishes in nine career victories for Gian Villante. The former Hofstra University football player stopped Trevor Smith with punches at the 1:05 mark in the first round of their light heavyweight scrap.
64: Significant strikes by which Estevan Payan outlanded Alonzo Martinez in taking a unanimous decision in their 160-pound catch-weight bout.