Of course anyone has a punchers chance, but I don't really see it in the cards for Jardine and here's why:
For some odd reason or another there seems to be some sort of gravitation towards Keith Jardine winning this fight at UFC 96. Then again maybe I just read absolutely too much? Regardless, if you look at this match up realistically I just don't see how Keith Jardine wins this fight. I know, I know, he wasn't supposed to beat Forrest Griffin back in the day or Chuck Liddell. Jardine does have a tendency to rise to the occasion, but I don't think this will be one of those times.
Stylewise this matchup just doesn't bode well for "The Dean Of Mean". Jardine has great leg kicks, and many people are pointing to those legkicks as his path to victory. They saw the success that Forrest Griffin enjoyed with them, and automatically think Jardine can use them with the same effect against Jackson. Those same legkicks got his face tore off by a wild counterpunch from Wanderlei Silva. In fact, Jardine and Griffin utilize legkicks pretty differently. Griffin throws lead kicks a lot without setting them up with his hands, which keeps him out of range of his opponents. Whereas, Jardine likes to throw combinations that end with a legkick as he did against Chuck Liddell(see pic above). Which means he must be in his opponents range at some point, against someone like Rampage that equals trouble. Also, Jardine usually only uses his right leg when throwing kicks.
Jardine will enjoy a small reach advantage but it will not be significant. If Jardine gets within range to throw those combinations, he'll also be in Rampage's range to counter. Jardine is a very tough fighter, but I find it difficult for him to withstand power shots from Rampage. It's evident that his recovery time isn't the best. Especially not with the two brutal KO's he's suffered in the past year or so. Yes, he withstood shots against Liddell but Rampage's offense is totally different. He can counterpunch, but also come forward and pressure his opponents when he wants to. Besides Lyoto Machida, Rampage could arguably have the best boxing technique in the UFC LHW division.
We haven't seen much of Jardine's ground game, but we have seen Rampage hold his own against Dan Henderson for 5 rounds on the ground. Rampage is pretty difficult to submit as well. I think it's safe to say that Jardine's ground game isn't his bread and butter. Otherwise, he'd use it more often unless he suffers from the Jorge Gurgel syndrome. I think the majority of this fight will take place on the feet where Rampage has a much better shot at ending the fight when compared to Jardine.
If you think Jardine has a shot, I'd like to hear your thoughts?