Since debuting as a professional fighter in 2003, the highly decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard has been one of, if not the most decorated ground fighters in mixed martial arts.
With a laundry list of grappling world titles to his credit, Souza has always been pegged as a fighter with nearly unlimited potential.
In his already storied career, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion has dispatched MMA stalwarts such as Robbie Lawler, Matt Lindland, Tim Kennedy and Jason “Mayhem” Miller, to name a few.
If you had never witnessed Jacare in action, he quickly showed what all the fuss was about.
Early into the opening frame, Jacare used his ever-improving stand-up skills as he calmly peppered Camozzi, effectively breaking any rhythm the 26-year-old American had hoped to muster. As Souza set the pace, he landed a set of overhand rights that wobbled Camozzi.
Smelling weakness, Souza moved in, securing a quick takedown, leading to his ground magic.
Souza used consistent ground and pound to soften Camozzi before employing his anaconda-like prowess. But when it happened, it was smooth. In an almost effortless display of jiu-jitsu, Souza put his knee on Camozzi’s belly, transitioned to side control, and locked in the fight-ending arm-triangle choke, forcing Camozzi to tap at 3:37 of round one.
“I was waiting for him to give me the opportunity, and I saw his neck out there, and I just went for it,” said Souza matter-of-factly after the fight.
With 14 of Souza’s 18 wins coming by way of submission, it’s safe to say he “just goes for it” with uncanny ease, unlike any other fighter in the Octagon.
Souza credited the hometown Brazilian fans for keeping any “UFC jitters” at bay, as the 33-year-old finally made his promotional debut.
“Everyone was asking me if I was going to get the UFC jitters,” said Jacare. “But I didn’t because this crowd is awesome. It’s fantastic.”
With sights shifting to the top-ranked middleweight, Jacare was asked about whom he would like to fight next. When the subject of the night’s main event between Vitor Belfort and – one of the only three men to beat Souza – Luke Rockhold, the confident Brazilian said he knew exactly who he wanted his next scrap the be against.
“With the winner.”
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- Chris Camozzi