Middleweight monsters, Ronaldo Souza and Yoel Romero, finally locked horns inside the Octagon tonight (Sat., Dec. 12, 2015) after two previous failed attempts on the UFC 194 pay-per-view (PPV) main card from inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And it was well worth the wait.
"Jacare" -- a Brazilian jiu-jitsu master -- got the action started with a kick to the mid-section of Romero, a hulking Cuban who won a silver medal wrestling in the Olympics. "Jacare" continued to pressure Romero with strikes and kicks as his opponent calmly circled away, lulling him into a sense of calm before unloading a huge left hook. Romero found a home for one, which sent "Jacare" backpedaling for the first time in the match.
Romero continued to play possum and then drilled "Jacare" with a thundering spinning backfist. Stunned, "Jacare" invited him to play his game on the canvas and Romero obliged, savagely landing massive ground-and-pound as the Brazilian desperately angled for a submission. "Jacare" almost caught the hyper aggressive Romero in a triangle, and then an armbar, but it came at a terrible expense -- he could barely make it back to his corner when the round ended.
Likely still dazed, "Jacare" took a page out of Romero's playbook and took his time coming out of his corner. Romero landed a nice front kick to the face to start the action, but it did not appear to affect "Jacare." Even though "Jacare" was still buzzed, Romero remained patient, possibly giving the Brazilian time to recover. "Jacare" dove for a takedown and Romero jumped over him like a cat, but "Jacare" continued to chase him down.
In the scramble, "Jacare" got the fight to the mat, but Romero was clearly holding the fence, compelling the referee to briefly halt the action and warn the Cuban not to do it again or risk losing a valuable point. "Jacare" landed a nice right hand, then followed it with a takedown that didn't materialize. Romero fire a front kick, and "Jacare" responded in kind, but the action seemingly slowed heading into the third and final frame.
Romero, who appeared the more fatigued fighter, shadow-boxed early as "Jacare" landed with a nice mix of kicks and punches. "Jacare" went for another takedown and Romero was able to pull his ankle out before it was too late and then he landed a nice left cross on the restart. "Jacare" responded with a flurry along the fence that stunned Romero and then finally secured a takedown, landing in top position.
"Jacare" landed some nice right hands as he worked to improve his position, scoring with hard elbows, too. With 15 seconds remaining in the match, Romero was able to get back to his feet -- "Jacare" could not do much with his advantageous position late.
In the end, it seemingly came down to the first round, with Romero winning the second and "Jacare" the third. And the three judges sitting ringside, unsurprisingly, were not in agreement, awarding Romero the split decision victory much to the chagrin of "Jacare."