UFC 96: Rampage Jackson vs. Keith Jardine

Somehow I missed this during the UFC 93 broadcast, but apparently, the UFC announced Rampage Jackson will take on Keith Jardine at UFC 96, not Rashad Evans for the title as heavily rumored.

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson will face off with Keith Jardine at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio, according to an announcement during the live telecast of UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland.

I suppose this means Lyoto Machida will get his title shot if he can get past fellow undefeated Brazilian Thiago Silva at UFC 94? No idea what the UFC’s reasoning is behind this. Jackson vs. Evans would have been a great title fight. Perhaps, they think they can play off all the exposure Machida and Silva are going to get at UFC 94? Who knows, but expect a healthy dose of Machida pound-for-pound promotion from Dana White in the coming months.

Moving on, while it wasn’t officially announced, Five Oz. is reporting Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will face off against Chuck Liddell in the UFC 97 main event.

The UFC has decided that a light heavyweight matchup between former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and former PRIDE standout Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will headline the promotion’s UFC 97 event tentatively scheduled for April 18 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.

FiveOuncesOfPain.com learned of the news on Saturday night from a source close to the bout. An official announcement could be made shortly.

I normally wouldn’t say what a fighter should and shouldn’t do for his fight preparations, but Shogun should seriously consider spending some time in Vegas with Wandy’s strength and conditioning coach for this fight. He’s not going to beat Liddell with a half-filled gas tank.

On a side note, this most likely rules out Mir vs. Lesnar II for this card.

Quick update: Liddell vs Rua is official