Roger Gracie made a successful debut at middleweight, defeating former UFC fighter Keith Jardine via unanimous decision Saturday night at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy. Gracie rebounded from his first MMA loss to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal last year.
Gracie nearly had Jardine submitted for the first time in his career several times during the second round. He cited a large amount of blood that was pouring from Jardine’s head as a reason he couldn’t lock the submission in.
“I was very happy, but with the blood all over, I couldn’t find a stable way (to lock in the submission),” Gracie said. “The striking allowed me to stay stable and I was able to use my long reach to keep him away.”
Gracie said that he left too much weight to cut the day of weigh-ins, which resulted in him tiring during the contest. He did say middleweight would be his home for the time being.
Gracie is now 5-1 in his MMA career, with this victory being his first via decision after four submission wins to start his career.