Jacare a Live Underdog Against Weidman in UFC Event

Clint MacLean

Sunday, October 28, 2018 1:19 PM UTC

Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 1:19 PM UTC

After UFC 230's main event fell through and injuries forced two fights to be swapped, the card looked in danger of being canceled. Now the bouts are finally locked in and there's hidden value on a favorite-heavy card.

UFC 230: Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza vs. Chris WeidmanSaturday, 11:30 p.m. ETFree UFC Pick: Souza ML (+160)Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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In the co-main event after Luke Rockhold pulled out due to injury, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza finds himself facing former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. You may recall Weidman as the man who ended Anderson Silva's historic run as champion. However, after winning the title, Weidman went on a bad run, losing three fight in a row by KO or TKO. He righted the ship against Kelvin Gastelum in July 2017 with a decision win over a smaller man, who arguably should be fighting a weight class down. Weidman did a good job of using his size and wrestling advantage to overwhelm Gastelum and keep him on the mat after getting clipped by a few good shots.

Souza is 3-2 in his last five and also had a run-in with Gastelum and he lost that fight, so the expectation is that he should lose this matchup with Weidman as well. MMA doesn't work that way, though. The stylistic matchups here are the key to these two fights and this is where we will find value. Souza chose to stand with Gastelum; Gastelum, being the smaller fighter, had a decisive speed advantage that allowed him to grind out a decision on the feet.

Weidman is a high-level wrestler, which generally means he will likely look to put Souza on his back and grind him out for three rounds, which is exactly what he did to Gastelum. However, Souza happens to be a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jistu and is a wizard on the ground with 14 submission victories, and nobody in their right mind chooses to go to the ground with him as it's a recipe for a short night. Weidman got brutally KO'd three times and so his chin is in question, and Souza is actually an accomplished striker, sporting seven KO/TKO victories. People tend to forget that because of the threat of his ground game.

After coming off a brutal KO loss to current middle king Robert Whittaker, Souza rebounded with a brutal KO win over rising contender Derek Brunson, who is also on this card, reminding us just how dangerous he is everywhere in this game.

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Weidman has shown some less-than-impressive "ring IQ" in his last four fights and will likely want to avoid the ground due to Souza's submission game and grappling ability. I see Weidman getting overconfident and Souza touching that chin and rocking him. Once Weidman is rocked, Souza can have his choice of submission or TKO. I wont take this fight inside the distance as I could also see both fighters being respectful of the other's power and the fight going to the scorecards, but either way Souza is live!

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