Following five slow rounds at UFC Sao Paulo, someone had to win the main-event, and that man was Jan Blachowicz.
Former middleweight contender and Strikeforce champion Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza was set to make his debut at light heavyweight at UFC Sao Paulo. Welcoming Jacare to the 205lb fold was Jan Blachowicz, a former KSW champion who had been flirting with contendership in the UFC for some time.
Both men were considered dark horse candidates for a title shot in the short term, given champ Jon Jones had signaled interest in a fight with Dominick Reyes. But stranger things have happened, and a statement win at UFC Sao Paulo on Saturday could propel either man into the conversation.
Jacare wasted no time getting in on a takedown to start the fight, however, Jan stuffed the takedown, and eventually got separation halfway through the round. Jacare threw a couple of leg kicks and then threw one upstairs that just missed before getting into the clinch again. Nothing happened in the clinch here either, and we headed into the second round with some boo’s coming out of the audience after an uneventful first round.
Jacare and Jan both threw right hands that landed near the start of the second that caught each other’s attention. Jan kept throwing kicks to the legs that appeared to be landing, but Jacare was walking through them. Jacare shot for another takedown, however, Jan stuffed it once again. Upon the break, they traded kicks to the body, followed by a calf kick by Jacare. Jacare landed a right cross clean that caught Jan’s attention but didn’t rock him. Another interesting round.
Jacare looked to be closing the range again to start round three, where he again shot for a takedown. Jan again stuffed it, and Jacare just worked his way inside into the clinch before Jan separated. Jan looks to establish his jab, but Jacare is fine staying on the outside with his kicks. More boos would come from the crowd as Jan would land a combination at the bell to send us to the fourth round.
Jan with a few leg kicks to open the round, but not much in the way of offense from both, but Jacare is pushing the pressure more. Jacare looks for a takedown again, and Jan lands a combination when he’s coming in, but Jacare still gets the clinch. Fans in the crowd are starting to have fun with their phone lights as nothing is happening in the clinch. They separate, and Jan continues to land more jabs. Jan fires a kick to the body, and Jan starts to pick up the pace. Jan’s foot looks to be broken heading into the final round, but Jan did have a good round four.
Jacare shot in for a takedown to start round five, yet again he’s stuffed, and they clinch against the cage. Jan lands a combination after they break, and Jacare shoots in again, is stuffed again, and they get separated by the referee after a brief clinch. Jan lands a combination that seems to drop Jacare, but he doesn’t follow up. That knockdown would be the most exciting point of the fight, however, neither fighter followed up, and we would go to a decision.
Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jacare Souza via split-decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)