Following his impressive UFC debut last week at UFC on FX 8 over Chris Camozzi, former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza left the MMA world eager to see what the world renowned grappler’s next challenge in the octagon would be. There was talk of Vitor Belfort potentially being Souza’s next opponent, but “Jacaré” was quick to dismiss the idea, claiming he might not be quite ready to face the old lion. Regardless of who Souza was set to face next, most felt it should be a top-ten fighter, and it would appear that is exactly what he got.
Dana White announced Thursday at a UFC 160 media event in Las Vegas that “Jacaré’s” next clash in the cage would be against none other than no. 3 middleweight in the world and one of the divisions staple veterans, Yushin “Thunder” Okami. While White was unable to give a proposed date for the bout and mentioned that nothing has officially been signed by either fighter, Dana did assure the media stating, “That’s the fight we’re going to make.”
Yushin Okami is coming off a split decison victory over Hector Lombard at UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Japan and touts a three-fight win streak going into the fight with Souza, with wins over Alan Belcher and Buddy Roberts. “Thunder” last felt the bitter sting of defeat at the hands of Tim Boetsch at UFC 144 in a shocking KO loss where Okami was the heavy favorite. Prior to the loss to Boetsch, Okami was defeated in an attempt to dethrone the middelweight king Anderson Silva in August of 2011. Okami will be looking to make it a four-fight win streak against “Jacaré,” and march back towards the title.
Souza has remained dominant throughout his MMA career aside from the 2011 decision loss to Luke Rockhold for the Strikeforce middleweight strap, with his only other notable loss being against Gegard Mousasi. While Chris Camozzi was on a tare coming into the match last week at UFC on FX 8 with Souza, questions still arise as to how “Jacaré” would perform in competition against the divisions elite, like Yushin Okami, and now we get to find out.
Souza is undoubtedly the superior submission specialist, Okami has a talent for frustrating great grapplers and has a stand-up game to match. “Jacaré” has shown improved striking prowess with his knockout of Derek Brunson and continues to build on his skills in the grappling realm, could he submit Okami? Does Okami bring the thunder and dominate Souza? What does Penn Nation think?
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