For fight fans, Jacare Souza vs Yoel Romero is just as big of a fight as the ones on the main card of UFC 194. Jacare Souza and Yoel Romero are both legends in their own grappling sport that made the transition to MMA.
Jacare, one of the best BJJ practitioners ever, picked up some striking skills and became a dangerous middleweight fighters. He was the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion with wins of Tim Kennedy, Robbie Lawler, Yushin Okami, and Francis Carmont.
Yoel Romero is one of the best Freestyle Wrestlers ever and has also made a successful transition to MMA. He has adapted his athleticism to striking and has picked up convincing wins against Tim Kennedy and Lyoto Machida.
Fight fans around the world are eager to find out who will become the next middleweight contender when these two grappling legends meet.
Yoel Romero and Jacare are both such athletic individuals. It was clear from the first round that Yoel was the more active one on the feet and may have the striking advantage.
With a minute forty left in the first round, Yoel caught Jacare with a spinning back-fist that sent the BJJ legend to the canvas. Yoel instantly took advantage of the situation and executed some of the most incredible ground and pound I have seen in MMA. Yoel’s wrestling abilities mixed with his heavy hands resulted in a versatile and powerful ground and pound that would rival that of Fedor.
Jacare survives to the second round. Yoel may have tired himself out from the first round ground and pound flurry while Jacare may still be recovering. It was clear that Jacare wanted to bring the fight to the ground and made some pretty obvious and desperate take down attempts.
In the third round, Yoel seems exhausted from lack of conditioning. Jacare is able to trap him against the fence and land some heavy hands. Yoel losing the spring in his step and not doing much to avoid them. This could have been a good way to try and finish the fight, but Jacare may not have wanted to take any risks and dragged Yoel to the ground.
With 2 minutes left in the fight, Jacare has top control of Yoel. Fight fans watching know that the submission will come but is 2 minutes enough to execute against another experienced grappler? Yoel was able to intelligently defend himself on the ground again the BJJ wizard.
The fight ends with a difficult decision for the judges. The point of contention in the fight lies in the second round. The 2nd round was a generally slow round with both fighters recovering from the first round action. With about 2 minutes left in the round, Jacare had a solid hold on Yoel’s body and was about to drag him to the ground. But Yoel held on to the cage fence to avoid the take-down. With this, Mark Goddad the ref stood both fighters up and started them in neutral position in the ring.
Although the ref did the right thing, it likely saved Yoel Romero eventually giving him the split-decision win. On the ground, I am confident that whether from the top or the bottom, Jacare would have found a way to control Yoel Romero and capture the round to get the decision win.
Only in MMA do we get to see two such legends battle in the cage. Unfortunately the fighters may have had to much respect for each others skills and developed a slight fear to engage. The competition was so close that it is still a little difficult for me to tell who is the better fighter. Both seem to have heavy and capable striking, both are incredibly adept on the ground, and both seem to be able to take heavy shots.
What is clear though is having watched Chris Weidman vs Luke Rockhold, it may not seem that either Jacare or Yoel are able to compete at the championship level yet.
Jacare Souza vs Yoel Romero full fight video