Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza booked for boxing debut against Vitor Belfort

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will make his professional boxing debut against Vitor Belfort at Gamebred Boxing 4.

Legendary grappler and MMA fighter Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is set to try his hand (literally) at professional boxing.

Nearly two full years since his final MMA bout, the 43-year-old will take on former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in a boxing match at Gamebred Boxing 4 on April 1 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The promotion’s owner and president, UFC welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal, announced the matchup recently on The MMA Hour.

Souza began his lengthy MMA career after a successful run through the highest levels of grappling and BJJ. He is a multiple-time IBJJF world champion, a 2005 ADCC champion, and a 2009 ADCC superfight winner. Souza holds impressive jiu-jitsu wins over Roger Gracie (twice), Robert Drysdale, and Braulio Estima (three times). He has not competed in grappling since a 2011 ADCC loss to Estima.

“Jacare” made his professional MMA debut in 200, and would earn a record of 26-10, winning the Strikeforce middleweight championship along the way. He holds notable MMA wins over former UFC champions Robbie Lawler, Chris Weidman, and Vitor Belfort. Souza was released from the UFC following a submission loss at UFC 262 in which he suffered a broken arm; it was his fourth consecutive defeat.

Belfort enjoyed a lengthy MMA career, as well, making his professional debut in 1996. A BJJ black belt under Carlson Gracie, Belfort won the UFC heavyweight tournament at UFC 12. After a stint fighting in Japan for Pride FC, he returned to the UFC and, in 2004, Belfort defeated rival Randy Couture to capture the UFC light heavyweight title. He would lose that belt in his next fight and continue to compete for the world’s top MMA organizations, again returning to the UFC before retiring from the sport in 2018.

In 2021, Belfort defeated former boxing world champion Evander Holyfield in an exhibition match.

Although Belfort built his reputation in MMA as a devastating puncher, he came into the sport as a jiu-jitsu stylist and has competed at the highest level. In 2001, the Brazilian earned bronze in the absolute division at the ADCC World Championships, defeating Ricardo Almeida in the third-place match.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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