Jacare Souza Odd Man Out as UFC Announces Adesanya vs. Gastelum for Interim Middleweight Title

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Ronaldo Jacare Souza will have to consider his options given the recent turn of events involving the UFC middleweight title picture  

The gator will be staying in the swamp for a little while longer.

This past Tuesday the news broke that Israel Adesanya will face Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 for the interim middleweight championship. The match up comes after Adesanya beat the returning Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 234, a card originally set to be headlined by current 185 lb. titleholder Robert Whittaker (defending against the aforementioned Gastelum) before he pulled out last minute due to a collapsed bowel. While a location for the event as yet to be announced, the pay-per-view is rumored to be happening in Atlanta, Georgia and will take place on April 13th of this year.

Interim Title Booking Puts Jacare Souza’s Future in Question

Although it’s no surprise the UFC decided to book the fight, given Adesanya’s surging popularity and Gastelum losing a title shot through no fault of his own, the bout does leave one fighter in a less than desirable spot: Ronaldo Souza.

After a contentious split decision loss to Gastelum last May, “Jacare” bounced back by knocking out former middleweight champion Chris Weidman this past November at UFC 230. Since then Souza has called for a rematch with the former Ultimate Fighter 17 winner, or a scrap with the undefeated Adesanya for an interim title, supposedly rejecting an offer from the UFC to fight Jared Cannonier at UFC 237. With both of his preferred opponents facing each other and Cannonier booked against Anderson Silva, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion is now left without a dance partner.

Title Picture at 185

The middleweight top ten is barren for available competitors as well. Yoel Romero is scheduled to face Paulo Costa at UFC on ESPN 3, and the Brazilian’s last two wins were over Derek Brunson and Weidman respectively. A rematch with Luke Rockhold would make sense, but the former UFC middleweight champion has stated he is moving up to light heavyweight due to the effect of the weight cut on his body.

Whether he decides to take a fight with a lower ranked contender or waits to see if he is granted a title shot when the dust clears, you can be sure that “Jacare” will be living up to his namesake in the meantime—waiting for a chance to prove he’s the best 185 lb. fighter in the world.


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Patrick is a consultant turned journalist who loves the fight game and everything to do with it. Focusing on the politics, business, and general state of MMA are his mainstays, though he'll dabble in analysis and best bets when he can. He also enjoys football, basketball, baseball, and great jokes in general so feel free to reach out and berate him on social media whenever you disagree with him.

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