Gamebred Boxing 4 went down at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday, April 1, 2023 — and leaned heavily on the sport of mixed martial arts the stack a rather unique card.
What Jorge Masvidal had to offer on Saturday was some of the best UFC athletes of yesteryear, competing not in the cage but the ring — which created a bit of a curiosity factor if nothing else. That certainly held true with the co-main event, where former UFC champ Vitor Belfort faced off with ex-UFC standout and Strikeforce champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
The six-round cruiserweight fight was the first action for Jacare since retiring from MMA in 2021, while Belfort had beat up Evander Holyfield in an exhibition bout that same year.
While there was plenty of feeling out early, Vitor let his power be felt in the form of his left hand, which split the guard at one point, and hooked around it a short time later. Jacare played a patient game, creeping forward, extending his left arm and occasionally pumping the jab. By the end of a mostly uneventful opening round, Souza’s nose was bloodied just a touch.
The pair opened up a little more in the second, trading blows in the corner, with Belfort standing with his back to the ropes. Belfort opted to clinch a little in this round, before ripping a 1-2. Another clinch, and it was Souza ripping the body on the restart. In the dying seconds of the frame, Souza hit an uppercut to the body, and Belfort landed his left. Right at the end of the round, Souza tripped and fell.
It was no trip in the third, with Belfort knocking his fellow Brazilian down inside of a minute. Souza would return to his feet and continue, but Vitor smelled blood. He went after Souza, forcing Jacare to clinch. Back underway, it was left hook after left hook as Belfort walked his opponent down. A second knockdown came in the final minute, care of an overhand left. Souza beat the count, and made it out of the round, but the was a brutal round for him.
Round four saw Souza land a right hand early, but another left hand hit home on Jacare ahead of the midway mark. Belfort was bloodied by an eye, but that didn’t seem to be bothering him much. Jacare continued to work the body throughout the round, but it was Vitor’s left hand that was the real threat.
The pace had slowed by the fifth, not surprising given Souza and Belfort had a combined age of 89. Lots of clinching peppered the round, with Jacare landing a right, and Belfort another big left with about a minute to go. Belfort was against the ropes, with Jacare working the dirty boxing. The fifth, especially the final minute, might very well have been the best round from Jacare Souza.
The sixth and final frame saw some heavy shots traded in the opening minute, with both men landing. Belfort had Jacare hurt, chased him, and nearly walked into a counter. Both men were bloodied. A left and an uppercut landed for Belfort! Jacare escaped and clinched, forcing the ref to break them.
Despite Jacare’s bread and butter in MMA being his grappling, he acquitted himself relatively well on Saturday night. But the fight belonged to Vitor Belfort, who took the clear decision on the judges’ scorecards. On his 46th birthday no less, giving “The Phenom” a nice little gift.
Official Result: Vitor Belfort def. Jacare Souza by unanimous decision (58-54, 58-54, 57-55)