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UFC Fight Night 150 card: Jacare Souza vs Jack Hermansson full fight preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contenders Ronaldo Souza and Jack Hermansson will clash TONIGHT (April 27, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 150 from BB&T Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Souza has been striving toward a title shot for years now, and the promised land is finally in sight. “Jacare” has reportedly been promised a chance at gold with a win here, so if we ignore the generally untrustworthy nature of UFC promises, this is one of the biggest fights of his entire career. It’s an equally important bout for Hermansson, who’s received a massive jump up in competition as a result of Yoel Romero’s injury and his own three-fight win streak. Whether he’s ready for this opportunity remains to be seen, but Hermansson’s violent trio of stoppages certainly proved him deserving.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Ronaldo Souza

Record: 25-6 (1)
Key Wins: Chris Weidman (UFC 230), Gegard Mousasi (UFC Fight Night 50), Derek Brunson (UFC on FOX 27), Yushin Okami (UFC Fight Night 28), Tim Boetsch (UFC 208)
Key Losses: Robert Whittaker (UFC on FOX 24), Kelvin Gastelum (UFC 224). Yoel Romero (UFC 194), Luke Rockhold (Strikeforce: Barnett vs Kharitonov)
Keys to Victory: Souza is a beast of an athlete. The powerful Brazilian is best known for his crushing jiu-jitsu game — which is among the absolute best in the sport — but he’s put away his last two victories via knockout, showcasing a trickier and more consistent boxing approach than ever before.

Souza may no longer be a one-note submission guy, but his easiest path to victory remains gaining top position and cranking on a limb against the majority of foes. Hermansson fits the bill, particularly since he’s shown some bad habits from his back against other jiu-jitsu black belts like Thales Leites and Cezar Ferreira.

No offense to those two, but “Jacare’s” jiu-jitsu is on another level.

To score the takedown, Souza must simply remain patient. If he rushes at Hermansson and takes a poorly set up shot, the takedown will be difficult (though still not impossible given some of the deceptive finishes shown above). Instead, Souza just needs to patiently walk Hermansson down with his calmer boxing approach. Hermansson cannot wrestle with Souza — if he does, that’s a gift for the Brazilian — so he’ll be forced to rely on his punching combinations or constant kicking.

Given Hermansson’s movement and level of activity, Souza shouldn’t have a hard time catching a kick or ducking a punch into a good shot.

Jack Hermansson

Record: 19-4
Key Wins: David Branch (UFC on ESPN 2), Thales Leites (UFC 224), Gerald Meerschaert (UFC on FOX 31), Alex Nicholson (UFC Fight Night 109)
Key Losses: Thiago Santos (UFC Fight Night 119), Cezar Ferreira (UFC Fight Night 100)
Keys to Victory: Hermansson is a well-rounded fighter, but he very clearly wants to score a takedown and maul his opponent from top position. Given his solid wrestling background and tricky in-and-out style of kickboxing, Hermansson is generally able to time his shots well and employ his preferred strategy.

Unfortunately, that would be a terrible idea opposite the jiu-jitsu master.

If he’s to upset the veteran, Hermansson has to do it with his kickboxing. While a punch-for-punch exchange probably still favors the Brazilian, Hermansson’s biggest edge is conditioning. Hermansson fights at a consistently ridiculous pace, whereas Souza is nearing 40 years of age and does slow down.

In order to out-work Souza, Hermansson’s movement and low kicks must be on point, as he could definitely frustrate and chip away at Souza if he refuses to give him an easy target. However, it’s absolutely pivotal that Hermansson’s feints and timing are on point, as he cannot afford to overplay his hand and throw a kick directly into a takedown from Souza.

Stick, move and feint!

Bottom Line: One Middleweight will leave as a title contender.

For Souza, it’s supposedly the last step required to finally receive his title shot, and while he’s dangerous, Hermansson is likely an easier fight than Yoel Romero. If Souza takes advantage of Hermansson’s historically iffy bottom game and finishes things quickly, his case will be difficult to deny. Given his age, Souza probably doesn’t have a ton of time left as an elite fighter, so this may truly be his now-or-never moment regarding the UFC title.

Hermansson, meanwhile, is hoping for a classic changing-of-the-guard moment. “The Joker” has everything you’d look for in an up-and-coming contender: athletic gifts, a well-rounded game, and clear path to victory. This could be the fight that changes his career, moving him from one of many up-and-comers to the rare truly elite Middleweight.

Both men have a lot to gain in victory, so expect a quality main event.

At UFC Fight Night 150, Ronaldo Souza and Jack Hermansson will go to war in the main event. Which man will earn the victory?

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