Keith Jardine vs Thiago Silva, UFC 102 Betting Odds and Analysis
Keith Jardine (-150, Bodog) vs Thiago Silva (+150, Sportsbook)
Another fight in which both guys are coming off of hard losses, this fight will raise the winner back up to possible title contention and drop the loser farther down into a very stacked division.
Keith Jardine is the easiest to start with, so we’ll start there. Jardine was on TUF season two as a heavyweight and was considered a favorite to win. However, he was knocked off by current friend and training partner Rashad Evans. Since TUF, he has dropped down to light heavyweight and gone 6-4. He has notable wins over Forrest Griffen, Chuck Liddell, and Brandon Vera. His 4 losses came from a controversial split decision loss to Stephan Bonnar, quick KO’s by Houston Alexander and Wanderlei Silva, and a very close decision loss to former champion Quinton Jackson. Jardine has had a rough career that has seen him have a real hard time stringing together a decent win streak.
For the most part, Jardine is a standup fighter that has good boxing and dangerous leg kicks. He has a very strange boxing style that is nearly without rhythm. As such, it is very hard for his opponents to get down his timing. His punches can also come from very strange angles which again are difficult to train for. The fact that Jardine went three rounds with Rampage and nearly got the win (he lost it due to the last 30 seconds of the fight) is very telling of his standup prowess. Plus, he went all 3 rounds with standup wrecking machines Brandon Vera and Chuck Liddell.
Wrestling wise, he hasn’t really needed to show what he can do. He does train with the likes of Evans and GSP, so it is hard to believe that his takedown defense isn’t fairly strong at this point. Since Thiago is more of a ground fighter, it is unlikely that he will be going for the takedown in this fight.
Another question mark on his skill set is the grappling field. He has yet to fight a strong grappler that wants to take the fight to the ground. All in all, everyone has wanted to stand and brawl with Jardine and put on an exciting fight for the fans. The only exception is Wilson Gouveia and he lost to Jardine by decision.
Now, Gouveia is a BJJ black belt that trains out of American Top Team, just like Jardine’s opponent Thiago Silva. Silva was doing very in the UFC, going 4-0 until he fought current light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. His most notable win during that stretch is over Houston Alexander.
Style wise, Thiago has some very good Muay Thai. There is something to be desired in the striking department, but in the clinch, his knees are devastating. On the feet, Thiago seems to get tagged pretty hard in every fight. All of his fights so far have seem him take a beating on the feet until he is able to get the fight to the ground (or his opponents decide to go to the ground).
His wrestling is also less than impressive. It’s not so much that Thiago is able to get his opponents to the ground, but that they follow him to the ground and end up getting swept. Once he is on the floor, Thiago has the ability to get top control fairly quickly. He then transitions to full mount and works toward the TKO. He hasn’t had a submission victory since 2006, so the greatest danger he poses for Jardine is the sweeps and GnP from the top.
Looking over his last 5 fights, Thiago’s path to victory has followed a pretty standard pattern. He gets battered on the feet, gets taken down, his opponents follow him down, get swept, and then he pulls out the win with GnP. All of his opponents in the UFC, thus far, have been able to outclass him standing up. Their only downfall was stupidly getting on top of him and jumping into the ground game.
Many people have looked at Thiago and seen an aggressive fighting style. Jardine has been rushed in the past by Alexander and Wandy. However, Thiago doesn’t have that kind of standup prowess. In reality, he tries to rush, but he gets knocked around every time he does. If Jardine can stand and trade with Rampage, he should have little trouble with Thiago. Since he trains with Greg Jackson, there is no reason to believe that he will have a smart game plan that will begin with keeping him out of the ground game with Thiago. That seems to be the only way he can win. With Jardine’s takedown defense and smart game plan, he should be able to outclass Thiago on the feet for 3 rounds to secure the decision victory.
Thiago’s record may look impressive at 13-1, but watching his fights, he looks very much less than impressive. If any of his past UFC opponents had simply kept it on the feet, he most likely would have lost. Therefore, I would give Jardine around a 66% chance of winning, and that is being conservative. Plus, Jardine has a way of roaring back from defeats to quickly get back into the win column. He hasn’t been able to keep his momentum going, but he is due for a win after the close loss to Rampage.
Final Prediction: Take Keith Jardine at -150 for 2 units to win 1.33 units. There is a lot of edge in this line and people are putting more weight on Thiago’s record than is warranted.