One of the major discussion points attached to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza’s August win over Tim Kennedy was the Brazilian’s willingness to strike rather than rely solely on his submission savvy. With ten of his thirteen total wins coming by way of tap-out, Souza still stood with Kennedy for a good portion of the bout and showed remarkable improvement, even winning enough exchanges to eventually emerge Strikeforce’s 185-pound champion.
However, if fans were wondering whether Souza will employ the same strategy tonight against knockout artist Robbie Lawler, the middleweight title-holder himself is quick to dismiss the notion as was the case in a recent conference call with media.
“Some were surprised that I stood last time but Lawler is a different kind of fighter than I had in my last one. If I have to stand, I will of course, but I know it is important that I keep control,” Souza explained. “This is going to be a tough fight, and a very dangerous one. Lawler is very heavy-handed and I know to win I am going to have to play my game, which is to take him down and try and finish the fight.”
Fifteen of “Ruthless” Robbie’s eighteen total wins have been the result of his hard-hitting ways including a fifty-second flattening of Matt Lindland in December his last time out. He also holds knockout victories over Melvin Manhoef, Murilo “Ninja” Rua, and Joey Villasenor.
Then again, simply because Souza is interested in avoiding the Midwesterner’s sleep-inducing stand-up doesn’t mean he isn’t also aware of the danger he poses to Lawler on the ground. Four of Lawler’s six losses have been by way of submission.
“I don’t feel either of us think that we can afford to make a mistake,” the 31-year old BJJ expert concluded on the matter.
Souza’s title-defense will precede another championship clash between welterweights Nick Diaz and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos on tonight’s 10:00 EST Showtime broadcast with Herschel Walker and Roger Gracie also set for action in earlier bouts. The preliminary portion of the card can be caught via free stream on Sherdog starting at approximately 8:15 EST.
PHOTO CREDIT – ESTHER LIN / STRIKEFORCE