The UFC takes it act to Brazil this weekend as the promotion returns to Sao Paulo for the first time since September 2018. UFC Fight Night 164, also known as UFC Fight Night: Blachowicz vs Jacare, will take place on November 16, 2019, at the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Brazil’s own Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza makes his 205-pound debut against light heavyweight contender Jan Blachowicz in the main event. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will take on Paul Craig in the co-main event while Charles Oliveira takes on Jared Gordon in a lightweight scrap. If you need any help, you can check our guide to betting on MMA.
Jan Blachowicz is the former KSW light heavyweight champion and the #6 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC today. The 36-year old Polish 205 pounder stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 78 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. Blachowicz has a record of 24-8with six knockouts and nine wins by submission. He has won five out of his last six bouts with his only loss during that period being a 3rd round knockout at the hands of Thiago Santos last February. Blachowicz knocked out Luke Rockhold at UFC 239 in his most recent fight.
Ronaldo Souza is the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion who is considered one of the best grapplers ever in MMA. The 39-year old from Vila Velha in Brazil is the UFC’s 8th ranked middleweight who owns wins over the likes of ex-champions Robbie Lawler, Chris Weidman, and Vitor Belfort. Souza stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 72 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 26-7-0-1 with 8 knockouts and 14 wins by submission. Jacare is 4-4 in his last four bouts and is coming off a loss against Jack Hermansson last April. This will be Souza’s light heavyweight debut.
This is a fight that Souza would have won easily if it happened three years ago. However, Souza is no longer the feared fighter he used to be and that’s why Jacare is the UFC betting underdog in this matchup. Sure, he is still better than his peers Weidman and Rockhold because Jacare came out of 2018 with a 2-1 record. But Souza has slowed down noticeably to the point where his punching power and grappling skills can be neutralized by a contender like Blachowicz.
Blachowicz has the reach advantage to outbox Souza and has an underrated defense that should help keep this fight on the feet. Sure, there is always a chance that Jacare scores a knockout here or even a submission but the chances are slim with the possibility of Blachowicz walking away with a victory is higher. I’m picking Jan Blachowicz to beat Ronaldo Souza.
PREDICTION: JAN BLACHOWICZ
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is the former UFC light heavyweight champion. The 37-year old from Curitiba in Brazil was the 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix champion and is currently the 14th ranked 205-pound fighter in the UFC. Despite being a former UFC champion, Shogun is just 10-9 under the UFC. Rua stands 6-1 with a reach of 76 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 26-11 with 21 knockouts and one submission loss. Shogun is coming off a knockout win over Tyson Pedro last December.
Paul Craig replaced Sam Alvey who broke his hand last month. The 31-year old from Scotland is a former BAMMA light heavyweight champion who joined the UFC In 2016. Craig has a record of 12-4 with 11 wins by submission victory. The Scotland native stands 6-3 with a reach of 76 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. Craig is 4-4 in the UFC and he is coming off a submission win over Vinicius Moreira last September in Mexico.
The main concern with this version of Shogun Rua is his tendency to get knocked out. But Paul Craig isn’t a standout on his feet and doesn’t have that kind of knockout power. His standup is pretty much basic with jabs and hooks which he uses to set up his takedown game. When he gets the fight to the ground, Craig likes to look for submissions with 11 of his 12 wins going that direction. But Rua has good takedown defense and is capable when he is on the ground if it goes to that at all. Shogun still has that speed and head movement. Rua is going to keep this fight up and beat Craig with his striking.
PREDICTION: MAURICIO RUA
Charles Oliveira is 13th ranked UFC lightweight. The 30-year old from Sao Paulo, Brazil is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC because of his aggressive offensive style. He has earned Performance of the Night honors in five out of his last seven bouts. Do Bronx has a record of 27-8 with seven knockouts, 18 submissions, and one no-contest. Oliveira stands 5-10 tall and has a reach of 74 inches while fighting from the orthodox style.
Jared Gordon is a former Cage Fury Fighting Championships featherweight champion. The 31-year old New Yorker joined the UFC in 2017 and has posted a record of 3-2 under the promotion. Gordon stands 5-9 with a reach of 68 inches while fighting as an orthodox. He has a record of 15-3 with six knockouts and two wins by submission. Flash Gordon is coming off a unanimous decision win over Dan Moret last June 2019.
Oliveira is a very well-rounded with elite striking and superb submission skills. He puts pressure on his opponents by walking them down with long kicks and heavy punches without worrying about getting taken down to the ground. Gordon is a volume striker who has good footwork and fast hands. However, he is at a big disadvantage here with a reach difference of six inches. Although he does a good job of getting inside his opponents’ range, Oliveira may be too complete a fighter for the American to handle. Oliveira’s reach should do enough damage to Gordon that the latter will be susceptible to being taken down in the second half of the fight. It could end in a submission or not but this one is Oliveira’s fight.
PREDICTION: CHARLES OLIVEIRA
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