On Saturday, November 16, UFC is heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil for Fight Night 164. In the main event, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza is making his 205-pound debut vs. top contender Jan Blachowicz.
This could very well be among the best UFC business moves of 2019 and here’s why:
It’s rather obvious at this point, that the 205-pound division has little to no competition for its champion, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones. In my opinion, that truth presents us with two ways of looking at it. And I believe both to be true:
Exhibit A: Jones is just really that good. We have seen it time and time again. A new contender begins surging within the division, only to step up and be crumbled by Jones. All in all, he tends to make really good fighters look like average joes. That’s what being an all-time great is all about. Jones has that.
Exhibit B: The division just seriously lacks well-rounded talent. I am not saying that the division hasn’t improved as of late because it definitely has. There are a number of very good fighters at 205 but very few are well-rounded. And you need to be very well-rounded to even compete with Jones. If you’re a ‘one trick pony’, he will expose it and nullify your offense in that area. You cannot just be a ‘knockout artist’ and expect to dethrone Jones.
‘Jacare’ is exactly the kind of fighter that the 205-division needs right now. Being a blackbelt in both BJJ and Judo, he brings much more to the table. Many fighters are granted their blackbelts in a respective discipline but don’t showcase what they’ve learned. But he does. He has a very dangerous ground game and can strike with the best of them, too.
Unlike most fighters at 205, he doesn’t rely on a knockout to win. And he has a very strong chin, too. He can definitely take a punch and stay afloat. To back that up, he’s only been knocked out 3 times in 16 years of professional fights.
He actually left a very successful run in BJJ competition to begin fighting in MMA. He is a three-time jiu jitsu world champion. He actually competed against Roger Gracie at the 2004 jiu jitsu world championships in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Gracie broke Jacare’s arm in the contest but Jacare didn’t quit. He continued to fight and ended up winning the contest by a decision. Incredible.
This is not an article about ‘Jacare’ being the fighter to dethrone the Champ. This is about him being a breathe of fresh air into the 205-division. The kind of fighter that can compete with guys like Jones, because of his diverse skill-set. He is not by any means a one-trick-pony. He takes multiple routes to beating your favorite fighter.
‘Jacare’ is the kind of change that the light heavyweight division needs right now.
A true mixed martial artist.
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The Scrap’s Kevin Mahoney is a college graduate from Salem State University who loves to write, make music, and watch MMA. Make sure to follow Kevin on Twitter (@MainCardMahoney) and listen to his Lee N Keys Real Talk Podcast every Wednesday on BlogTalkRadio.