Ahead of the UFC Fort Lauderdale main-event showdown between middleweights Ronaldo Souza and Jack Hermansson, we give our official prediction.
We all know that anything can happen inside the octagon but to most who saw the billing that paired off the legend Ronaldo Souza and the mid-tier Swede Jack Hermansson, it’s easy to look at this as something of a mismatch on paper.
And in many ways it is.
When looking for a route to victory over five rounds for the underdog Jack Hermansson, who often favours an aggressive grappling approach, the options become limited to either a strong connection on the feet or a lapse in decision-making from Jacare that allows The Joker to connect with ground-and-pound.
Jacare is just that good on the ground.
I mean, it’s hard to imagine Hermansson finishing Souza on the ground with strikes but at 39, we’re going to have to wonder when the Brazilian’s wheels will finally come off.
Hermansson has lost by submission in the recent past, tapping to a second-round arm-triangle at the hands of Cezar Ferreira back in 2016. And while he has no doubt improved since then, Jacare is not Ferreira – who it’s worth noting is a fantastic grappler in his own right.
I could see Jack landing on the feet if the physical decline on Souza’s body is completely apparent early on. Despite beating down the former champion Chris Weidman in his last outing – that fight stood as one of the most brutal back-and-forths of Ronaldo’s career.
You can’t exactly engage in too many of them safely and as I said before, he’s 39 and most certainly making his last push at the title.
Do I see Souza succumbing to that inevitability before long? Absolutely. We’ve seen it already in his speed and athleticism.
But will it be enough to Hermansson to bridge the gap? I doubt it.
Expect Jacare to finish this one in the second with some clinical top control and one of his unavoidable submissions.
Hermansson is a quality fighter, make no mistake. But Souza remains on another level entirely.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena