Almost two weeks ago, The Ultimate Fighter 11 cast member Chris Camozzi agreed to fill in for an injured Costa Philippou against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC on FX 8. Though Philippou brought a stiff test on paper, the BJJ wizard and former Strikeforce middleweight champion, Souza, now prepares instead to face an emerging middleweight.

We say “emerging” because it seems that no matter what Camozzi previously accomplished, he did not truly earn the respect he thought his performances warranted. Sure, wins over the likes of Nick Ring, Dongi Yang, Luiz Cane and Nick Catone look good, but they don’t hold the same weight as a win over Souza.

So when people ask if this fight brings forth the big opportunity Camozzi needs, the question itself becomes laughable. Of course a win over Souza does tremendous things for Camozzi’s standing as a middleweight. For one, if he wins, he beats one of the men many expected to ascend to the top of the division. For another, he inserts himself into a position where he could potentially face a top-10 or top-five middleweight.

Given Jacare’s ground skills, however, does Camozzi stand any chance of actually doing it? Absolutely, he does. Right now, Camozzi stands as the underdog, and many feel that he lacks the skills needed to avoid being gator food for “Jacare.”

For all anyone knows, Camozzi might like the doubt behind his ability to challenge Souza on a little over two weeks’ notice. Let’s face it: people in the MMA world expect Souza to either outwork Camozzi or submit him quickly. They know Camozzi must work his jab and his technical striking game to a tee if he wants to beat Souza, but they don’t think he can without getting taken to Souza’s world, which lies in the ground game.

Also, did we forget that UFC on FX 8 emanates live from Brazil? Never mind the distance between Souza’s training grounds in Manaus and the FX 8 card’s venue in Santa Catarina for a second. The fact remains that Camozzi steps into enemy territory and must leave no doubt about his ability to beat a top Brazilian in Brazil.

Still, that doesn’t mean Camozzi can’t expose some holes in Souza’s game. For that reason, one should keep one eye on Camozzi, and another on Souza, this Saturday. Either Souza will come in and introduce the world to the “Jacare” every MMA fan knows and loves, or Camozzi will shock the world by defeating one of the best middleweights in MMA right now.

Photo: Chris Camozzi (Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.