UFC FN 50: Gegard Mousasi Expecting “Totally Different Fight” in Rematch With “Jacare” Souza
By FCF Staff
Although new or casual fans may not realize it, tonight’s UFC Fight Night 50 bout between Gegard Mousasi and “Jacare” Souza will not mark the first time the middleweight contenders have met. As veteran observers know, not only does Mousasi hold a victory over the former Strikeforce champ, but he did so by knockout….via an upkick.
The memorable bout took place way back in 2008, when Mousasi and Souza were competing for the Japanese organization DREAM. Not long into round one, “Jacare” was taken out by Mousasi’s right foot, as he attempted to dive down on the fighter. It was an impressive and yet shocking victory for “The Dreamcatcher”, which saw Mousasi win the promotion’s middleweight grand prix.
Of course, that was then, and this is now, and Mousasi doesn’t believe much can be discerned from their first encounter.
“He’s a totally different fighter now,” Mousasi relayed on FOX Sports 1’s “UFC Tonight” show. “He’s grown, he’s more confident and it’s a totally different fight.”
Indeed, since then, not only has Souza gone 10-1, with 1 no contest, but he’s continued to evolve all areas of his game. While “Jacare’s” ground skills continue to be world class, the middleweight has bolstered his striking, which was evidenced in recent victories over Yushin Okami and Derek Brunson.
Mousasi has also grown as a fighter since 2008, and has remained one of the sport’s top competitors as a result. The middleweight is coming off, what many believe was one of his finest performances to date in May, when he submitted the accomplished wrestler Mark Munoz in round one.
“This is a huge fight in the division,” FOX Sports commentator and UFC fighter Michael Bisping said on “UFC Tonight.” “Jacare” came into the division as a highly touted submission guy. At the start, he was submitting everyone, but now he’s been knocking out people. But Mousasi is a beast. He’s done it all. He’s got knockout power. He’s got submissions. He’s got wrestling. He’s very well rounded, very experienced and that means he’s very dangerous.”
“Jacare came into MMA a little raw, but now he’s an awesome striker and he’s still one of the best grapplers in the world,” Kenny Florian noted. “He’s very comfortable in the Octagon now. But Mousasi is stoic, patient, and can knock you out on the feet. He also has submissions, and Jacare can’t sleep on him. This isn’t a jiu jitsu match.”
Not only is it a compelling fight due to the skills of both men, but there’s a lot riding on the five round headliner. Souza is currently ranked #4 in the UFC’s middleweight division, and Mousasi is positioned at #7.
“Definitely in the top three,” said Mousasi, while discussing what a win over Souza could achieve. “Luke Rockhold is there. Bisping is there also, but people will think I challenge him if I say his name. Those are the guys coming off a big wins and I think I’ll be right there.”
UFC FN 50 will be hosted by the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut.