So, a week removed from a disappointing middleweight clash, we’ll all have the distinct pleasure of letting the UFC make it up to the fans with an equally intriguing bout at 185 lbs that could have major implications for the division. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza gets to attempt to solidify his spot as top contender against the young, hungry prospect Robert Whittaker. It’s a fight that any casual fan or avid purist can appreciate. Both men have a propensity for finishing fights which only means potential excitement.
Jacare Souza is a beast. Describing him as anything less would be a true insult to one of the greatest Brazilian jiu-jitsu practioners any fan has had the honor of watching. In recent years opponents have come to fear Jacare on the feet as much as he’s feared on the ground. In the striking realm he doesn’t use his jab as a stinging strike but rather a range fund for his powerful right hand and left hooks. It’s basic, but it’s his bread and better and he knows how to use those basics to enter into the clinch where he has crushing strength. He’ll be smart to use a similar game plan against the young Whittaker as the Australian-New Zealand fighter has a tendency to burst forward with a blitz from time to time.
If Jacare can get Whittaker to respect his punching power, then he’ll go a long way to implementing his game. Getting his opponent against the cage will be key in this fight, followed by the clinch and trips as he’s fond of. Once the fight hits the ground it could be all over for Whittaker.
The thing is, ‘The Reaper’ understands that fact very well. Robert Whittaker has some dangerous striking and great hand speed especially in the middleweight division. His movement and distancing allows him to get away with blitzing in and getting back out before his opponent can return fire *cough* karate tactics *cough*. Whittaker will do well to lean on his karate experience in order to leave enough of a gulf between him and Jacare. It will force Jacare to step forward into the middle space where Whittaker can blitz forward with blinding speed and power.
His jab as always should be used by Whittaker judiciously as Jacare can be explosive himself and leap into his strikes. If Whittaker’s jab is undisciplined, Souza can certainly clip him with a hard shot. Jabbing for distance and damage, keeping the center and having his back go nowhere near the cage are keys to victory that Whittaker must follow in order to not only survive but to keep Jacare on the end of his strikes. When Jacare does get aggressive, a left hook right straight combo would be a great option for Whittaker.
Here’s to hoping that this middleweight clash doesn’t end in some ludicrous controversy.
Who do you got, Jacare Souza or Robert Whittaker?