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Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has been through a lot. First off, he’s been fighting since 2003, with organizations such as Jungle Fight, DREAM, Strikeforce and finally with the UFC.  Parallel to his mixed martial arts career, Jacare is considered one of the best submission grapplers of the world, an accolade he shares with such names as Marcelo Garcia, Roger Gracie and Saulo Ribiero. However, despite have a 25-5 career record in the middleweight division, he has never fought for a UFC title. The last few years have seemed to litany of injuries for the Brazilian from bone chip fragments in his elbow, to a torn pectoral then to an appendectomy.

Going into his rematch with Derek Brunson this past weekend, there were some questions to be answered. His last fight ended with him getting TKO head-kicked by current champ Robert Whittaker. Jacare is 38 years old; an age where the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to appear for most fighters. It was a reaffirmation, for most to see him finish Derek Brunson is such a dynamic fashion.  The first time they met in Strikeforce back in 2012, he ended the fight in the first round with a nice right hook. Initially, I was leaning towards a submission or split decision win.  It was pretty spectacular watching Jacare finishing Brunson with a first round head kick of all things.

What’s next?  I’d like to see a Weidman / Jacare fight. Back when Chris Weidman was champ, I wanted to see this fight.  Both guys are coming off of wins. Weidman broke his losing streak with a win over Kelvin Gastelum, so his confidence I most likely restored. Jacare looks healthy so this could be a really fun fight that will put the winner closer to a title shot.

The rest of the card was entertaining despite reports of poor viewership. Gregor Gillespie cemented his position as someone to watch in 2018 by maintaining his undefeated record with a win over Jordan Rinaldi.  Other highlights were Bobby Green’s victory over Erik Koch and Mirsad Bektic’s body shot KO win over Godofredo Pepey.

There was a bit of controversy over the Andre Fili’s decision win over Dennis Bermudez.  I didn’t have the same reaction as some people did when Fili’s hand was raised. Scoring is based on effective striking and grappling, octagon-control and aggression are taken into consideration only when the those two criteria are even.  Fili scored 4 out of 6 takedowns, Bermudez was definitely pushing the action, I definitely scored the third round for Bermudez but it wasn’t a surprise to me when Fili got the W.

Looking ahead at this weekend, it looks like we are poised to witness the demise of the once-great Lyoto Machida as he faces undefeated UFC newcomer Eryk Anders. Machida hasn’t won a fight since 2014 when he knocked out CB Dolloway in the first round. Since then he’s been finished by Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Derek Brunson. It doesn’t look good for The Dragon as the young Eryk Anders positions himself to make a name for himself at the expense of the former champ.

The  Stipe Miocic / Daniel Cormier, Champ against Champ fight has been announced. They are both also slated to coach the next season of the Ultimate Fighter, a show that I haven’t watched in almost 10 years. I think I’ll be tuning in this time around.

My early feelings on this is that Cormier has the edge over Miocic. DC is the superior wrestler, still has a good chin and thrives in the exhausting, grinding clinch game.  Miocic has great movement but his grappling is lacking in the submission department; he has sound top game, like most wrestler do, but isn’t going to be passing anyone’s guard or going for any submissions. DC on the other hand has a powerful top game as well as a multitude of submissions in his toolbox.

I commend Miocic for taking the fight; he has the most to lose. His belt is on the line where DC is still champ at Light Heavy Weight.

More on this in the coming months.


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