Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as the UFC Fight Night 164 mixed martial arts (MMA) event took place last Sat. night (Nov. 16, 2019) from inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Jared Gordon, who was knocked out by Charles Oliveira in a little over a minute into their lightweight scrap (see it again here). And Sergio Moraes, who was put away by James Krause in the third and final round of their welterweight matchup (relive it here).
But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?
Coming into his headlining bout against Jan Blachowicz, “Jacare” was looking for a fresh start, moving up to light heavyweight after spending the entirety of his Strikeforce and UFC career as a middleweight.
The submission specialist was successful at 185 pounds, winning the Strikforce middleweight strap in 2011, and starting off his UFC career at 7-1 in his first eight fights, with his lone loss coming to the powerhouse that is Yoel Romero. A win there would have landed Souza his first shot at UFC gold. Since then, he has gone just 4-3, prompting the move up.
His first contest at 205 pounds, however, fell flat. Souza couldn’t get his offense going against the Polish bruiser after 25 minutes of action. That said, Blachowicz didn’t do much either, much to the chagrin of fight fans around the globe.
Still, Souza was in desperate need of a win, or at least an impressive showing, so I expected him to come out guns blazing in an effort to prove a point. Look, I hate criticizing a fighter who gets into a cage to get punched for a living while I sit behind the comfort of my laptop, but I think we are all in agreement that Souza didn’t do much to help his stock at 205 pounds.
“First I would like to thank God for this fight, thank the Brazilian fans for the love I received that keeps me increasingly motivated to fight, also my great team that gave me all the support to be here fighting @josueldistak @mssteam @db_dezan @ jwill1224 @phillyfreshufc @iam__coachjt @ rafaellima91kg @stones_drink @drrodrigomauro @carladipierro,” wrote Souza on social media.
“Let’s move on correcting the errors and coming back even stronger for the next! @ufc_brasil. I apologize to you, I tried to do my best.”
As for what could be next for “Jacare,” perhaps a drop back down to Middleweight is in order. There is no shame in going back to where you’re comfortable. Look at Kevin Lee, he went up to welterweight for one fight, laid an egg, then dropped back down to lightweight to hand Gregor Gillespie his first-ever loss in speculator fashion.
I think Souza can do the same. He’s a big 185 pounder, so he has a size advantage down at middleweight. Just look at the list of combatants he’s lost to in the division over the last seven years: Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, Yoel Romero and Jack Hermansson; that’s pretty much the cream of the crop, so there is no shame in that.
For Souza, going back down seems like the best option. He just needs to recharge, reset and go back to what he knows best, and that’s taking his opponents down to his world and twisting them up like pretzels.