UFC Fight Night 28 Date: September 4, 2013 Arena: Mineirinho Arena City: Belo Horizonte, Brazil Middleweight bout: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (-265) vs Yushin “Thunder” Okami (+225) Fight Breakdown: UFC Fight Night 28 from Brazil will feature a highly anticipated battle between two top 10 contenders of the middleweight division, when the Brazilian Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza takes on the toughest middleweight to ever come out of Japan, in Yushin “Thunder” Okami. Souza is currently the favorite in this bout at -265 ($265 to win $100), while Okami is the underdog at +225 ($100 to win $225) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. RONALDO “JACARE” SOUZA (18-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is making his second appearance inside the Octagon, following a May, 2013 first round submission win over Chris Camozzi and giving him four wins in a row. The current four fight win streak started after he lost his Strikeforce Middleweight Championship title to Luke Rockhold, and he has finished all four fights. That said, neither of the four fighters he defeated are anywhere close to the level of Yushin Okami. Okami will certainly be his biggest challenge since his title fight against Rockhold; possibly bigger. Jacare is one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners in all of mixed martial arts. As soon as the fight hits the mat with Jacare, it’s generally game over. He is without a doubt a submission ace and a definite finisher, as 15 of his 18 wins have come inside the distance, all but one of them being by way of submission. Jacare has great takedowns and has takedown defense, too, though opponents generally don’t want to find out. Jacare is never afraid to go to the ground with anybody but has recently begun to hone his stand-up skills, and he displayed so by knocking out Derek Brunson just a year ago. He has been working on his striking and I expect to see even more improvements from him in that department. He is well conditioned for a three round fight and I believe will have the cardio advantage going into this bout. YUSHIN “THUNDER” OKAMI (29-7 MMA, 13-4 UFC) is entering this bout riding a three fight win streak. The streak includes impressive Decision victories over middleweight contenders Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard, whom with the defeat, Okami sent packing down to the welterweight division. Yushin Okami is the biggest middleweight on the UFC roster and is considered the best wrestler to come out of Japan, and arguably the best fighter; certainly the best middleweight. He possesses great takedowns and is generally able to take opponents down at will. Okami has something to worry about in this fight that he didn’t have to worry about in any of his recent bouts: if he takes the fight to the ground like he normally likes to do, it might spell trouble for him. He’s faced very talented submission artists before, such as Anderson Silva and Nate Marquardt, but no one quite on the level that of Jacare. Okami’s two weaknesses would have to be his chin and his cardio. Sometimes he gasses after eight minutes and sometimes he’s able to go all fifteen without really tiring out, so I can’t be sure exactly which version of him will show up. Considering the fight is in Brazil, the long flight he will be making, and the jet-lag that is likely to come with it, I think it is more likely that he is very tired in the third. With his main home being at Team Quest, Yushin Okami’s has also bounced around other gyms in preparation for this bout. In order to win this bout, I think he has to successfully out-strike Jacare. His striking skills have improved and continue to improve; he wasn’t very good before but is now a decent striker. He has a really nice jab that he works his opponents with. Okami will have a two inch height advantage entering this bout. However, he will be at a two inch reach disadvantage. Fight Prediction:If the fight stays on the feet for long enough, even though not a knock-out artist by any means, I think Jacare will manage to find Okami’s chin. If Okami decides to take him down, I think he will eventually work his way towards earning a tap from Okami. If it’s back and forth and goes the distance, I think Jacare takes it. Only way I see Okami winning is if he literally dominates at least two rounds, which I don’t see happening. I can’t see him completely tooling Jacare in the stand-up or on the ground with his smothering wrestling attack. One way or the other, I think Jacare gets his hand raised, but if I had to say — Gabe’s Pick: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza by Submission (triangle-choke, 4:22 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza -265 (to win 5u) and ITD +175 to (risk 2.5u)
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