Souza has long been considered one of the best athletes in the middleweight division and recently he's been realizing that potential and rounding out his game, becoming a threat on the feet to go along with his already extremely potent ground attack. Now, he's hoping to make a big splash in his official UFC debut.
Camozzi has made the best of his second chance with UFC, winning his four most recent fights to climb up the ladder in the UFC's middleweight division. In Souza, he's facing by far the toughest test of his career and he's hoping to pass it.
Record: 17-3 (1 No Contest) overall, 0-0 in the UFC
How he got here: Souza has always been an incredibly gifted athlete. He didn't begin training in judo or Brazilian jiu-jitsu until he was 17 years old, but he was a natural. He quickly elevated his submission game to elite status, winning the World jiu-jitsu championship in 2003, 2004 and 2005 as well as taking the gold medal at the infamous Abu Dhabi Combat Club competition in 2005.
After losing his first professional fight in 2003, "Jacare" stepped up his game significantly, not only winning nearly every one of his bouts, but competing at the highest levels.
After mixed results in Japan's Dream promotion, Souza made a big splash in Strikeforce, defeating former UFC middleweight title challenger Matt Lindland via first round submission in his promotional debut. After a decision victory over Joey Villasenor, "Jacare" was awarded a shot at Strikeforce's vacant middleweight title against Tim Kennedy and he made the best of it, winning the belt in a hard-fought decision.
Souza defended the strap against Robbie Lawler in entertaining fashion but in his second attempt to defend the throne, he lost his title to Saturday's main eventer Luke Rockhold.,
Since losing his title, Souza stepped up and dominated Bristol Marunde in his comeback fight. He followed up by scoring the first knockout of his career, destroying Derek Brunson in less than a minute with a perfect right hook. In his most recent bout, he took on UFC veteran Ed Herman and crushed "Short Fuse" with a dominant first round submission to keep the good times rolling.
Now, after losing out on a chance to defeat a top 10-ranked fighter in Constantinos Philippou, he's hoping to put a hurting on Chris Camozzi.
How he gets it done: The former champion should have an advantage on paper in nearly every category for this fight. Souza is a world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and he's a freak athlete.
"Jacare" has developed his mixed martial arts game significantly and his run as Strikeforce middleweight champion was very impressive with victories over Tim Kennedy and Robbie Lawler. Expect to see Souza push the pace against Camozzi, take control of the cage center and stalk him down.
If he can close the distance, putting Camozzi on his back and taking him out of his comfort zone would likely be the easiest method of breaking the veteran. If he can pass guard and ground and pound his way to mount, I can definitely see a victory via strikes on the ground or a submission. Camozzi was submitted by Kyle Noke in the bout that sent him packing previously and Souza blows Noke out of the water in regards to ground skills.
Making Camozzi uncomfortable is going to be vital for Souza if he wants success.
Record: 19-5 overall, 6-2 in the UFC
How he got here: Chris Camozzi got off to a pretty solid start in his MMA career, winning 12 of his first 15 fights and earning an opportunity to compete on season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). After earning an opportunity to compete on the show, he was forced to withdraw after suffering an injury.
At the TUF 11 Finale, Camozzi proved his worth inside the Octagon with a unanimous decision victory over James Hammortree. He was released from UFC after a loss to Kyle Noke, but was quickly invited back after scoring a win outside the promotion and he's experienced a bit of a resurgence as of late.
After a tough to Francis Carmont, Camozzi has reeled off four straight wins including a surprising doctor stoppage over Nick Catone and a solid showing against Luiz Cane in hostile territory. He stepped up in his last bout, earning a decision over Nick Ring in hostile territory again to walk away the victor. He'll be looking to leanon that experience against Souza on Saturday night.
How he gets it done: Camozzi has been winning fights simply by being scrappy and showcasing his heart and tremendous determination. He was on the ropes against Catone, but a nasty elbow forced a doctor stoppage. He had everyone rooting against him in Brazil, but he overcame the odds.
Camozzi is capable of hurting opponents with elbows and knees and perhaps what has been helping him the most lately is his perseverance. If he can take whatever Souza throws at him and not only survive, but also fire back with everything he's got, he could catch the Brazilian napping. All it takes is one good punch, kick or elbow and the course of the bout could be changed entirely.
In regards to chin strength, Camozzi can definitely take a good shot so he shouldn't be afraid to eat one to give one if it comes down to it..
Who will come out on top at UFC on FX 8? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!