When UFC on Fox 15 was announced, a key match-up between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel Romero in the middleweight division was anchoring the show as the co-main event of the evening. It was the second time the UFC was attempting to bring these two fighters together, as Romero had previously been forced to drop out due to injury. Lightning would strike twice in this case: with little more than a week to go before the event, Romero was pulled from the card, again due to injury.

He’s been replaced by Chris Camozzi, who returns to the promotion after winning two fights, including a title, in Prize FC. Prior to that Camozzi had been on a four fight losing streak in the UFC — a streak that was sparked by a loss to none other than Jacare, the man he now returns to face on short notice.

This swap generates a ton of questions about the bout: is this worthy of a co-main event fight, or should Cub Swanson vs. Max Holloway be considered the “real” co-main event of the evening? What does a win here do for Jacare, a man many see as the next potential title contender at middleweight? What is the likelihood that Camozzi can pull off an upset and win in this second encounter? Why is he even in this spot?

The final question we can answer. At least according to Dana White, only one fighter was willing to step up against the dangerous Brazilian on a week’s notice, and that was Camozzi. Fair enough. Taking on Souza on short notice isn’t a great prospect for anyone’s career aspirations, outside of a fighter looking for a way back into the promotion, and one who wants to avenge a key loss.

For Jacare though, it’s a situation familiar to many top tier fighters given last minute opponent swaps: if he wins, he has little to gain. He’s now expected to win. If he loses, however, it’s a huge upset.

In short, it’s lose-lose for Jacare, and win-win for Camozzi, who will no doubt get a second fight no matter the outcome Saturday for doing the UFC a favor.

With all that covered lets take a look at some keys to victory for Jacare.

Take It Straight To The Ground

Jacare’s last three wins have come over Yushin Okami, Francis Carmont, and Gegard Mousasi. Two of those are no longer with the company (Okami and Carmont, having been cut and signed with WSOF and Bellator, respectively). Between those three wins are a TKO, a decision, and a submission — but make no mistake, Jacare still is best with his ferocious ground game. That’s his bread and butter. His submission skills are some of the most feared in the division, and for good reason (fifteen wins by submission, for one). With that in mind, he should take this fight straight to the ground.

Make History Repeat Itself

In short, Jacare needs to make history repeat itself Saturday. There’s little to suggest, despite two wins outside of the promotion, that Camozzi has improved as a fighter by any great amount. It simply hasn’t been that long since these two last fought. The game plan that worked then isn’t far off from what will work now for Jacare, though you can expect Camozzi to be a little more cautious this time out.

Take Advantage Of Camozzi’s Short Prep Time

Jacare Souza and his team no doubt had a game plan set for Yoel Romero. In the end, they’re not fighting Romero, but they’re still in a better position than Chris Camozzi, who has just a weeks notice to be in fighting shape. Souza should take advantage of that and pounce on the first mistake Camozzi makes — and rest assured, as with any fight, mistakes do happen.

Really, this is Jacare’s fight to lose. It’s not the co-main event fans want, but it could still turn out to be entertaining, especially given that Camozzi should be highly motivated to put on a better showing against Souza this time out.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.