By Raphael Garcia
At UFC on FX 8, mixed martial arts fans in Brazil will get a treat when they watch some of their biggest stars compete in the Octagon. The card will also host two important debuts in the UFC middleweight division, as Luke Rockhold and the man he defeated for the Strikeforce middleweight title, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, step into the Octagon for the first time. While Rockhold is getting a solid amount of press, “Jacare” is very decorated in the martial arts world, and deserves the same publicity.
Many people believe that Souza has the best grappling in mixed martial arts. A ten-time gold medalist across multiple grappling competitions, his abilities on the mat should be respected by any individual who steps in the cage with him. Since 2003 he has submitted 13 opponents -- some of those have even tapped out to strikes. In his last bout, against Ed Herman at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, he easily dispatched an individual who some believed had the Jiu Jitsu abilities to at least defend himself on the mat. Three minutes later that was proven to be very incorrect.
The resume that “Jacare” has put together includes defeats over a number of midcard-level fighters who are currently in different positions in their respective careers. His wins over Jason Miler and Matt Lindland may not be as valuable as they once were, but he’s also defeated Robbie Lawler and Derek Brunson in dominating fashion. Both of those fighters are in a position to capitalize on the momentum of successful debuts in the Octagon. And with the exception of a loss in his pro debut, Souza has only been defeated by top talent in Gegard Mousasi and Rockhold.
Souza was supposed to face Costa Philippou in a bout that could have quickly placed him in the top ten of the weight class. Instead, he’s facing Chris Camozzi, who has more to gain from this bout. A win for him should immediately get him placed in at least the tenth position across multiple outlets that cover the sport. On the other hand, a victory for Souza would just keep him on the slow pace to a title shot at 185.
Making his UFC debut in the co-main event of a card in Brazil is an important career point for Ronaldo Souza. He may not be facing his original opponent, but he still has a lot riding on what could be seen as a “nothing to gain, but everything to lose” situation against Chris Camozzi. However, come UFC on FX 8, the fighter simply known as “Jacare” will still have this to gain: he'll have the opportunity to add an Octagon victory to the laundry list of career accolades he has already experienced.
UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold is due to take place on May 18, 2013 at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.
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