UFC Fight Night 50: Jacare Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi Review
The UFC scheduled Fight Night 50 on a Friday at Foxwoods Resort to counterprogram Bellator 123 across the way at the Mohegan Sun. I’ve yet to watch the Bellator show, but I heard it had a bangin’ main event, a King Mo squash match, and an announcement/brawl to announce Stephan Bonnar vs. Tito Ortiz. Now, there’s a good-to-great chance I won’t go back and watch the show, but there’s no way I’m gonna miss pro wrestling shenanigans seeping into the serious business of MMA.
And this had it all. It has Stephan Bonnar cutting an above average promo on how Tito Ortiz fans are fans only because they haven’t met the selfish prick. It has a masked Justin McCully being revealed in mask only. It has Tito Ortiz talking. It’s corny and ridiculous and something that Bellator can’t make a habit of doing, but it works in small doses, and it especially works with a couple of goobers like Bonnar and Ortiz.
JACARE DREAMCATCHING MOUSASI
Six years ago, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza met Gegard Mousasi in the finals of Dream’s middleweight grand prix. Jacare controlled the fight in the early going, putting Mousasi on his back and controlling from top position. But when Jacare came in with a diving overhand right, Mousasi countered with an accurate right upkick to the jaw, shutting off Jacare’s brain capabilities in an instant.
It’s one of only two blemishes on Jacare’s record over the last ten years, and Friday night gave Jacare a chance for redemption. And redemption he found. Jacare controlled the fight from the opening bell, backing Mousasi into the fence and putting him on the mat in every round. Mousasi threw an arsenal of upkicks, but Jacare came prepared this time, keep his chin tucked while throwing strikes and passing the guard.
Jacare threatened with kimuras at the end of both rounds one and two, and ultimately finished Mousasi with a guillotine that he locked up standing against the fence. Every win inside the Octagon is a big win, but this one especially so: Jacare turns 35 in December, and his title window closes a little more every day. The win over Mousasi gives Jacare his third straight win against ranked UFC opposition, and his seventh-straight win since a 2011 loss to Luke Rockhold in Strikeforce.
That’s enough to earn him a title fight, but UFC President Dana White says he’ll need to fight again before his shot. Why? Because Vitor Belfort fight Chris Weidman in December, and can’t sit for nine months? White’s right that it’s probably in Jacare’s best interest to take a fight in the interim, but that should be a placeholder fight against, say, Tim Boetsch.
The UFC signed Alistair Overeem in the fall of 2011. The deal guaranteed three fights (and “could ‘potentially’ cover eight”), provided $2 per pay-per-view buy over $500,000 in sales, and included a million-dollar signing bonus paid out over the first three years of the deal. It was a big deal for a big free agent, who was riding an 11-fight unbeaten streak in between Strikeforce, Dream, K-1, and Ultimate Glory.
Overeem made his UFC debut at UFC 141, dominating finishing a post-diverticulitis Brock Lesnar within 150 seconds. Back-to-back losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne (in vintage Overeem fashion) set him well back in the title picture, though he made the first step on the comeback trail with a stifling decision win over Frank Mir.
Ben Rothwell was supposed to be the next step on that journey. Rothwell’s a journeyman-type heavyweight who hasn’t won back-to-back fights since 2007. He hadn’t fought since a TKO victory over Brandon Vera a year ago, dealing with a UFC-issue suspension for elevated levels of testosterone.
Overeem started out hot, battering Rothwell with kicks and knees to the body. Rothwell responded by spamming the “uppercut” button, eventually landing one clean that staggered Overeem. Moments later he landed an overhand right that planted Overeem on the mat, where a series of hammerfists finished him off.
That puts Overeem at 2-3 in the UFC, with all three losses by strikes. The UFC would catch little flack if they cut him, and citing the financials makes a hell of a lot more sense that similar reasons given for Jake Shields, Yushin Okami, and Jon Fitch
But I think we’ll see Overeem’s next fight in the Octagon, assuming he doesn’t go off and retire. Heavyweight is a notoriously thin division, and despite his record, Overeem still has both a name and a look that the UFC can exploit. With Bellator suddenly an emerging competitor, it may even be worth the UFC’s money to keep him off the free agent market.
Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter.