Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC on FOX 24 blew the roof off Sprint Center last Saturday night (April 15, 2017) in Kansas City, Missouri.
For complete UFC on FOX 24 results and coverage click here.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Michelle Waterson, who was choked out by Rose Namajunas in their co-main event Strawweight fight (see it again here). And Wilson Reis, who was the latest notch on Demetrious Johnson’s belt following his armbar victory in their headlining Flyweight tilt (see it).
But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?
Going into his Middleweight showdown against Robert Whittaker, Souza was already one of the top contenders awaiting his own shot at the division strap. But, not one to sit idle, seeing as how Georges St-Pierre is currently playing the waiting game with Michael Bisping, “Jacare” opted to take a risky fight against Robert Whittaker.
“Bobby Knuckles” took it to the submission wizard from the jump, schooling him on the feet at will. What was perhaps more impressive from Whittaker was his patient approach. After knocking down Souza, Robert wisely called for him to get back up instead of following him down to his world.
It was a smart move on Whittaker’s behalf, as once on the feet he continued to connect on the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace before ending his night in the second round (see it). The thing that gets you about the Aussie’s striking is that it’s just so calculated, so calm, so technical and highly-effective without any of the flash.
It simply gets the job done night in, night out.
Defeating Souza is no easy task, knocking him out is something that simply doesn’t happen. In fact, the last time Ronaldo was knocked out was in 2008 after Gegard Mousasi ended his night under the DREAM umbrella thanks to some sneaky up-kicks.
The loss to Whittaker is a big blow for Souza, who took to Instagram to express his thoughts after the upset defeat.
Vença com ousadia, perca com classe. Quem não se arrisca a um fracasso, nunca chega a vitória. Sem mimimi. Parabéns, Whittaker! E o meu muito obrigado pela torcida e carinho de quem esteve, está e sempre estará ao meu lado. Em breve estarei de volta, e ainda mais forte! #TimeJacare . Win with audacity, lose with class. Who doesn't take risks never gets the victory. No excuses. Congratulations, @robwhittakermma! And my thank you to everyone for the support of those of always were and always will be by my side. I'll come back soon, and stronger! #TeamJacare . #BeMoreHuman @reebok @reebokbrasil @refmanguinhosoficial @usinadecampeoes @ufc @ufc_brasil
On the bright side, Souza opted not to “bet on himself” and fight out his contract against Whittaker to potentially gain some leverage come negotiation time. Instead, “Jacare” signed a new eight-fight contract a few days before fight night, securing his future with the promotion.
That means, despite the loss, Souza secured himself a financially stable contract, something he probably wouldn’t have received had he chose to fight it out based on the outcome.
As for what’s next for the submission wizard, I still like a match up against Luke Rockhold. The two were set to throw down last year before an injury sidelined Rockhold. While Rockhold is pining for a fight against Whittaker, that simply isn’t in the cards.
That’s because he was KTFO in his last outing against Bisping, so why he feels he deserves a streaking contender upon his return is beyond me. I get it, you want a shortcut back to the top, but a fight against Souza is more suitable. Both are coming off defeats and both need a win in the worst way.
Plus, Whittaker has his sights set on bigger and better things.