Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza successfully defended his Strikeforce middleweight title tonight by submitting Robbie Lawler in San Jose, California.

The first round produced plenty of action, with both men having their moments. Souza managed to get Lawler to the ground early which looked worrying for Lawler, but despite being smothered and controlled from side-control he survived and eventually managed to get back to his feet.

From there he started to press forward aggressively with punches and a knee, hurting Jacare in the process, causing him to reverse on shaky legs. Lawler followed up with more offense and Jacare hit the canvas. Perhaps making a mistake in the heat of the moment Lawler followed the BJJ master into his guard. Luckily for Lawler it isn’t long before the referee stood them back up and the round finished with the two on their feet.

The second round was big for Jacare as he was again able to get Lawler down against the fence and moves back into side-control. He spent much of the round there, appearing content to have complete control over his opponent while landing the occasional flurry of punches.

Towards the end of the round however Jacare suddenly stepped up a gear and showed beautiful BJJ technique as he flows into two armbars in a row. Credit to Lawler though who’s ground game is often questioned, but managed to roll free on both occasions to take the fight to a third round.

The key to Jacare’s dominance here is his ability to get Lawler to the mat, which his past opponents often find easier said than done. Jacare does so successfully twice in the third round, and it’s during the second time, which came due to a foot sweep that cost Lawler as Jacare quickly seized his back.

Lawler’s been vulnerable to the choke in the past, and with an expert like Jacare on his back it’s only a matter of time before he secures the rear-naked choke and he’s forced to tap.

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