The fight to determine who gets the next shot at the middleweight belt pitted former Strikeforce champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza against Cuban wrestler elite Yoel Romero, and it was a scrap jam packed with some serious hurt.
That hurt came early in the form of a spinning backfist, which Romero used to stun his opponent and drop him to the canvas. What followed was a round featuring bombs dropped from above – some of them hitting their mark. Jacare had two armbar attempts from the bottom that Romero had to work to dodge, but when the Brazilian tried to stand after the end of the round, and could barely do so, well, that’s all you need to know about how much Romero had hurt him.
Souza gradually recovered, and as the second round progressed, he began scoring more and more on the feet. Romero danced, through some heat, but he was gassing and it showed.
The third round was all Jacare, as he took Romero down and held him there for almost the entire duration. Was it enough to sway the judges?
Not after the beating sustained in Round 1. They gave it to Romero via split decision.