No. 5-ranked UFC middleweight, Ronaldo Souza, is on the hunt for a division title shot, and he had the perfect chance to prove his worth against fellow top contender Yushin Okami at last night's (Sept. 4, 2013) UFC Fight Night 28 event in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Despite being recognized as one of the finest Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in all of mixed martial arts (MMA), Souza had much to prove. The experienced Okami was a noted step up in competition from his only other Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bout, a first round submission win over Chris Camozzi at UFC on FX 8 last May.
"Jacare" was looking to make his impact on the division clear, and he did just that in devastating fashion.
Let's review his amazing win over a very tough opponent.
Many thought this bout would come down to Okami's vaunted wrestling versus the immense ground skills of Souza. That may have been the case had the victor's vastly-improved striking not appeared so early in the fight.
Souza came out snapping sharp kicks from the outset. He then let his hands fly, landing a big overhand right, a high kick, and then another right. Okami was momentarily stunned against the cage, prompting his attacker to deal out a torrent of left hands.
"Thunder" weathered the lightning, but more was on the horizon.
Continuing to look for the overhand right, "Jacare" came over the top with a massive bomb that put Okami on the canvas. Following with undefended power shots, the Brazilian made a huge statement with a technical knockout win over a tough, seasoned veteran.
It was a strange fight.
Okami never really mounted any sort of measured offense. He never seemed to truly be in the match. Perhaps Souza's striking has just progressed to a level where Okami had no answer for it. Maybe it's a combination of both of those factors.
In any case, it's a disheartening loss for Okami, who was beginning to erase his knockout losses to Anderson Silva and Tim Boetsch with a three-fight win streak. He'll fall from his lofty No.3 ranking, but he still remains a tough out for almost anyone in the UFC middleweight division.
Many of the top-10 fighters are currently scheduled right now.
A fight against the loser of Michael Bisping vs. Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30 on October 26, 2013, in Manchester, England, might make sense for the reeling Okami. Even a rematch against Boetsch could be a good comeback fight, as well.
Meanwhile, "Jacare" has truly made a case for a top spot at 185 pounds.
Despite having only two bouts inside the Octagon, he appears to be hitting his stride. Not a lot of the best middleweights could take Souza out right now, and perhaps the only thing that will stop him is injury. He noted that he hurt his leg kicking Okami in the fight.
Hopefully, the injury isn't too serious and he heals quickly, because Souza will be looking to get his hands on a top-ranked opponent. He could be the man that finally faces Vitor Belfort next. That's a very exciting proposition to fill the time while Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva figure out the middleweight title situation.
From the look of things, "Jacare" could contend with all three of those talented fighters right now.
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza continued to make a big impact at UFC Fight Night 28. Is he ready for a title shot? Let us know your thoughts about his one-sided victory over Yushin Okami below!