If you enjoy Brazilian jiu-jitsu greatness and submission wizardry as much as I do, you’ve come to the right place. This fight night scheduled for São Paulo, Brazil features some of the greatest submission artists of all time battling in the eight-sided cage. Here’s what to look for…
Jacare Souza is moving up in weight
And quite frankly, I’m unsure how this move will go. When the middleweight division became too crowded at the top for the contenders of years past, we witnessed a few make the leap up to light heavyweight to try their luck. We now know that did not fare well for former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (a KO loss to Blachowicz), nor did former middleweight champion Chris Weidman have better success (KO loss to Dominic Reyes).
Now, Souza attempts to do what they couldn’t. When Jacare enters the octagon to face Jan Blachowicz in the main event, he will possess a six inch reach disadvantage. Add in the height and weight advantage for Blachowicz and Souza is faced with an uphill battle.
Nevertheless, Souza brings as much fighting experience as anyone and will be competing in front of his home country. One last win before his 40th birthday could place him squarely in light heavyweight contender territory.
Every Paul Craig fight ends in a finish
Seriously. Every…last…one. With a 12-4 career record, all sixteen fights Craig has endured have ended with the referee stepping in to interfere. You cannot deny the fighter’s showmanship.
That said, you can’t ignore the same high finish rate for his opponent, MMA legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Out of 37 career contests, 30 have ended via knockout or submission.
Don’t expect the judges to earn their paycheck in this one.
The all-time submission leader is on the card
No, it’s not Demian Maia. And no, Royce Gracie isn’t making a comeback. When Charles Oliveira enters the octagon on Saturday, he will be alone in the number one spot for all time submissions with 13. For comparison, Oliveira has more UFC submissions than Ronda Rousey had career wins.
That does not mean you can write off his opponent, Jared “Flash” Gordon. The holder of a John Danaher BJJ brown belt, Gordon has never been submitted inside the cage and will not be easy to put away. This fight could definitely be exciting for the ground-game fanatics.
The career collapse of Renan Barao
If we’re being honest with ourselves, this could very well be the last time we watch Renan Barao fight. After losing the bantamweight championship to TJ Dillashaw in 2014, Barao has suffered one of the worst career collapses we have ever seen. Barao is currently on a four-fight losing streak and has lost seven of his last nine. Additionally, many critics point to the timing of Barao’s downfall in accordance with USADA-era drug testing. Adding insult to injury is the fact Barao has missed the contracted weight in each of his last two fights.
At only 32 years of age, Barao desperately needs a win against Douglas Silva de Andrade if he hopes to remain employed by the UFC.
UFC Fight Night: Blachowicz vs. Jacare airs this Saturday, November 16th on ESPN+ with the prelims scheduled to begin at 5PM ET, followed by the main card at 8PM ET.