Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will move from middleweight to light heavyweight this Saturday in Sao Paulo as he takes on Jan Blachowicz in the main event at UFC Fight Night 164.
Souza comes in as the No. 8 ranked middleweight in the UFC, while Blachowicz is currently ranked sixth in the light heavyweight division.
Souza Wants to Make Run at 205
The 39-year-old Souza (26-7) is looking for a place to make a title run in the UFC before his career ends. While he was a legitimate contender at middleweight, he never quite figured into the championship picture. Recently, he has lost three of his last five bouts, culminating with a unanimous decision loss to Jack Hermansson in April.
Like many other aging fighters, Souza decided his best opportunity lies in a higher weight class. While there are some disadvantages to that tact – it’s likely that Souza will be naturally smaller than many of his new opponents – it will make weight cuts much easier for him. The seasoned pro sees other advantages as well.
“It’s obvious that he has more knockout power than me, and I respect that,” Souza told Ag Fight. “Jiu-jitsu surely is one of the weapons I’ll try to use the most… I’m approaching this quietly, and I’ll come out victorious. We’ll use our best weapons; one of them is speed, I think it’ll make a big difference in this fight.”
For Blachowicz (24-8), Saturday’s bout gives him a chance to get another big win over a Brazilian legend, and continue a streak that has seen him win five of his last six bouts. The Polish 36-year-old is even starting to think about a potential title shot against the legendary Jon Jones, provided he can take care of business this weekend.
“I hope so,” Blachowicz told MMA Fighting, speaking of the potential for a title shot with a big win at UFC Fight Night 164. “I believe that after Saturday, I’m going to be the next one who gets a chance at a title shot. But first of all, the focus is on Jacare.”
Larger Blachowicz May Be Too Much to Handle
How the size difference impacts Souza could go a long way toward determining the result of this bout. Blachowicz is a legitimate contender at 205 pounds, and that means that this isn’t simply a case of Souza having clearly superior skills to compensate for the weight difference. As Souza noted himself, getting the fight on the ground might be his best chance for a win. Blachowicz is no slouch, however, and isn’t easy to submit, even for strong grapplers. Souza is also slowing down in his late thirties, which could mean he won’t have quite the speed advantage he envisions.
UFC Fight Night 164 Odds
- Jan Blachowicz (-190) vs. Ronaldo Souza (+156)
- Mauricio Rua (-300) vs. Paul Craig (+230)
- Charles Oliveira (-430) vs. Jared Gordon (+310)
- Antonio Arroyo (-102) vs. Andre Muniz (-120)
- Markus Perez (-110) vs. Wellington Turman (-110)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Those factors help explain why Blachowicz is a solid favorite heading into the fight. FanDuel Sportsbook lists Blachowicz as a -190 pick over Souza (+156).
Also on tap at UFC Fight Night 164, will be a battle between No. 14 light heavyweight contender Mauricio Rua (-300), who will take on Paul Craig (+230) in the co-main event. Also on the card, Charles Oliveira (-430) will go toe-to-to against Jared Gordon (+310) in a lightweight bout.