UFC Sao Paulo may not be a casual fan favourite, but for the grappling connoisseurs, there are several matches with the potential to turn into grappling caviar. Here are the most likely grappling showdowns on this weeks fight card.
UFC Submission Record Holder Back Again
Charles Oliveira was the man to beat both Royce Gracie and Demian Maia for the title of most submissions in the UFC. He returns to the octagon at Sao Paulo to see if he can add increase his lead even further. The “Macaco” black belt is not facing an easy challenge though, as he will face off against Danaher brown belt, Jared “Flash” Gordon. While Gordon has never lost by submission, neither did Darren Elkins, Will Brooks and many more until they stood across from Oliveira. This match that has the potential to be a high-level grappling showdown, but Oliveira definitely has the upper hand.
World Champ vs. Submission Artist
The night’s main card also holds a multiple-time BJJ world champion in the form of Sergio Moraes. Moraes caught the attention of the BJJ community in 2008, when he submitted Kron Gracie on his way to winning Worlds. The alliance black belt has lost his last two bouts and is squaring up against James Krause. Krause is something of a submission artist in his own right and has managed to submit 14 of his 33 opponents. In spite of this, the rangier Krause may try to keep it on the feet, as this is where he’s likely to have more success against the somewhat brawling striking of Moraes, who tends to swing for the fences. If Moraes manages to get his elite grappling going, there’s a chance he can either catch Krause or edge out a decision by winning the ground exchanges.
A BJJ GOAT’s Light-Heavyweight Debut
And now for the man we’ve all been waiting for; Former BJJ world champion, Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza. He’s in the UFC Sao Paulo main event against a polish powerhouse, Jan Blachowicz. Jacaré is arguably one of the all time greats of BJJ with several IBJJF world titles and ADCC titles to his name. After mixed results in his last few fights, Jacaré is moving up to the Light Heavyweight division. All things considered this may prove to be a challenge for Souza as not only is Blachowicz significantly heavier than previous opponents, he also has a six inch reach advantage. This should signal that Jacaré will try to take him down to avoid the fight becoming another kickboxing match. This could prove difficult, as Blachowicz showed excellent takedown defence in his last match against Luke Rockhold. That being said, you can never count out the alligator and if he can take the fight to the ground then we’ll be sure to see some of Jacaré’s BJJ wizardry.