If Strikeforce wants to continue bringing in strong ratings for Showtime and prove themselves more than just a feeder-system to the UFC, Saturday night’s Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine card is an important one.

All five main card bouts feature fighters that Strikeforce likely feels they can promote to the sky going forward, but all five of them need to focus 100% on the task at hand and not overlook their opponent.

Luke Rockhold is the key to everything, as the Strikeforce middleweight champion defends his title in the main event against UFC veteran Keith Jardine. Rockhold has a strong personality and is outspoken enough to receive plenty of interviews from the MMA media, but he is largely untested as a fighter.

Rockhold has fought just nine times professionally, and his decision victory for the title over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza caught many off guard. He could be one of a handful of men to push Strikeforce into the bright lights, but if he can’t put away a man like Jardine, all of that may come crashing down. While “The Dean of Mean” is more well-known, he is also on the downhill slope of his career. Jardine is 36 years old and was cut by the UFC after three straight losses. He dropped two more fights outside of the Octagon before going 2-0 to earn a spot in Strikeforce.

Other fighters in need of making a strong impact include Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ who is going up against undefeated prospect Lorenz Larkin. If Lawal wants to get back in the running to regain his title, he needs to put Larkin away early and not let the youngster hang around and gain confidence.

Veteran Robbie Lawler will welcome Adlan Amagov to the Strikeforce big show after Amagov claimed two wins in the Challengers series. This could be the kind of bout that defines the winner and loser.

Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine are both looking to compete for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight crown, but neither can afford a hiccup against Jordan Mein and Tyler Stinson, respectively.

All in all, this Strikeforce card might not have the more marquee-worthy names in the sport, but with so much riding on it, you can fully expect to see fireworks aplenty from Vegas.

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