Last night, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza made his claim at being the No. 1 contender in the UFC middleweight division. The title, currently held by Chris Weidman, is presently set to be defended in December against Anderson Silva in the rematch of the century. Despite who wears the title, how impressive was the win by Souza against Yushin Okami?
For starters, Okami is the former No. 1 contender in the UFC middleweight title, having lost his title shot to Silva in August 2011. Entering the fight, Okami was working his way back up to another title shot in the division. He was riding a three fight winning streak, beating Buddy Roberts, Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard. It was the win against Lombard that made many believe Okami was ready to compete for the strap again, but Souza ended that conversation.
At 2:47 of the first round in their fight, Souza rocked Okami and earned the TKO win. It was a fight that Souza dominated from the beginning and one that he ended with relative ease. After a head kick, he landed a series of strikes to knock off the Japanese star and cement his legacy at the top of the division.
Now to answer the important question of how impressive the win was, coupled with his previous four wins, Souza is proving to be one of the toughest fighters in the UFC. He has finished all five of his opponents since 2012 began. He has submitted Bristol Marunde, Ed Herman and Chris Camozzi and earned a KO against Derek Brunson. Those weren’t the greatest opponents for Souza to work his way up the rankings, but the win against Okami made up for the lack of credibility from his previous opponents.
The next time we see Souza compete inside the Octagon, it could very well for the world title and no matter who is wearing the strap, will be a major hurdle to jump over.