On Friday, Sept. 5, the UFC will bring one of its most stacked outing to the city of Mashantucket, CT. On one side of the Octagon, former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza stands with a great deal of momentum, having been successful in his UFC career thus far, and many peg him as an inevitable contender to the UFC middleweight championship currently held by undefeated and undisputed world champion Chris Weidman. On the other side of the Octagon stands former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi, a man who owns an early career victory over Souza, something which the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace surely has not forgotten. All will come to a head at UFC Fight Night: Jacare vs. Mousasi as the two surging middleweights do battle in one of the most must-see main events of the UFC’s 2014 schedule. The battle promises to leave the eyes and ears of the MMA world with an affair they will never forget.

Join Dale De Souza and RJ Gardner as they breakdown this rematch in detail.

RJ – This is an interesting bout and I think that both of these fighters have changed a great deal since their first meeting back at Dream 6 in September of 2008. Mousasi is coming of a very impressive first round stoppage of Mark Munoz, but Souza is riding a six-fight win streak with five of those wins coming by way of stoppage.

Dale – I agree that this matchup has been a long time coming, though I definitely would suggest that this booking was one rematch that very, very few thought would ever take place, given Mousasi’s run at light-heavyweight and Souza’s time as a middleweight. Mousasi, to his credit, has made the most of his time at middleweight, but overcoming a solid wrestler like Munoz certainly differs in multiple ways from facing the challenge of a grappling phenom like Souza, whose best chance in any fight comes in the grappling aspect.

RJ – Souza is one of the greatest grapplers to ever transition to MMA, but he is starting to get a little too comfortable on his feet; against Mousasi that is going to hurt him. Mousasi is an elite striker and Souza just can’t compete with him on the feet.

Dale – On one hand, I see that perspective, because at some point that will come back to bite him, especially when he has to face the likes of Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Lyoto Machida, and any other striker in the middleweight ranks. On the other hand, I do believe Souza is smart enough to know he cannot stand with everyone in the division, especially not a vicious kickboxing-based artist like Mousasi, who does have his own loss to Machida in a five-round battle, but has knocked out solid competition in the past. If the fight does go to the ground, though, would it be safe to say Mousasi might find difficulty competing in the ground game with “Jacare”?

RJ – There is no question that Souza will have the grappling advantage if this fight hits the ground, but Mousasi is no slouch as he has 12 wins by submission to his credit. Also keep in mind that their first fight ended via an upkick KO. Even though Mousasi is skilled, he needs to keep this fight standing to win here.

Dale – People will say what they will about Mousasi in his bouts against Ilir Latifi and Ovince St-Preux, among others, but Mousasi certainly can keep the bout standing. Souza does possess power and can put a combination together very well, but if he wishes to prove his detractors wrong about what appears to be his “newfound” striking, he must be able to showcase a wide array of striking prowess. This will prove tough against “The Dreamcatcher,” whose own power may get underrated by some, despite having battled his way towards either a TKO or a knockout by punches in 14 of his 35 pro wins

RJ – I think you are right, Dale. Mousasi’s takedown defense does get a little too much criticism but Souza is also a much better takedown artist than most BJJ practitioners. For me this bout is going be be decided by distance; if Mousasi keeps Souza on the outside his superior striking will be on full display. But if Souza can close the distance his powerful hooks can become a factor and his judo can be used to get the fight to the mat.

Dale – With the memory of that first fight fresh in his mind as well, RJ, I do believe that fans will definitely find themselves in for a much more definitive finish. In a five-round battle, we can see as much of Mousasi displaying his kickboxing expertise, which few have really seen in quite some time, as we can of Souza’s judo, though Mousasi’s own takedown offense certainly cannot be overlooked. He may not do what Rockhold did, but in this bout, it’s always possible that Mousasi actually does find himself more in control on the ground than Souza, even though we will forever acknowledge that realm as “Souza’s realm.”

RJ – A lot can happen in a five round fight but both of these guys need a finish; the UFC middleweight division is getting deeper by the day and if either one of these guys wants to separate themselves from the pack they need an impressive victory here. Souza’s winning streak has been impressive but Mousasi looked like he turned the corner against Munoz and I think he is going to build on that victory.

Dale – I trust Mousasi will look like he wants that win from the onset of the first round until the dying seconds of the fight, and I will say that he will definitely get the better of Souza at some point. Ultimately, though, Souza will look to show the world why he is among the top names in the list of future contenders, and it will come at the expense of Mousasi, though he will fight his tail off to find that all-important “W.”

RJ’s Prediction – Mousasi wins this one via 4th round TKO.

Dale’s Prediction – Souza submits Mousasi in round 5 after a hard-fought middleweight battle.

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.

  • Fraser Hawkins

    You gotta fire RJ.