Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is hoping to secure his first UFC title shot later tonight (Sat., May 12, 2018) at UFC 224 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when he takes on talented contender Kelvin Gastelum.
Even though a victory over Gastelum would push Souza’s current win streak to two, as the 38-year-old is coming off a knockout victory over Derek Brunson this past January, the Brazilian believes back-to-back dominant performances is enough to land him a shot at 185-pound gold.
“I’m just saying what I’m feeling,” told MMAjunkie earlier this week. “I’m very confident for this fight.”
While confident in his abilities, Jacare must be cautious against a dangerous youngster like Gastelum. The 26-year-old is coming off a spectacular knockout win over former UFC champion Michael Bisping this past November and has all the ingredients to ruin Souza’s title aspirations.
“I’m not taking it for granted,” Souza said of his matchup with Gastelum. “Just when I look at the big picture, that’s what I see.”
Souza, who has produced a 8-2 record with seven finishes since his promotional debut back in 2013, is not necessarily focused on finishing Gastelum. Considering Gastelum has only been stopped once in his entire career, Jacare is hoping to do his best and let the fight play out naturally.
“It’s all about a win,” Souza said. “However it comes, it doesn’t matter. I know I’ll take it. I’ll do my best and win the fight.”
With Yoel Romero already scheduled to fight current UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker next month at UFC 225, and former titleholders Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold injured or looking to leave the division, the winner of Souza vs. Gastelum almost has to receive a title shot.
If not, Souza is willing to take a break and wait until the promotion comes to him.
“I will sit and wait,” he said.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 224 fight card below, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FX at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.