After forcing Robbie Lawler to stare up at the HP Pavilion ceiling for much of their 12-minute affair, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza meticulously worked his way for a 3rdRound rear-naked choke submission victory to retain his middleweight title on Saturday night.
Although Lawler packs quite the punch, he wasn’t on his feet long enough to unleash many bombs. However, he had a golden opportunity in the opening round when he landed a vicious right hand.
The Brazilian was clearly dazed, as the former UFC veteran continued to unload on Jacare. For some unknown reason, Lawler opted to jump into Jacare’s guard to try and finish the fight on the ground, instead of allowing the champ to get back up on his wobbly legs.
It was a decision that may haunt Lawler for the rest of his career, as Souza recovered and managed to push the contest into the latter rounds.
“I came prepared for everything,” Souza said after collecting his four consecutive victory. “I feel great now.”
Jacare, a black belt in jiu jitsu and judo, scored with takedowns and suffocated Lawler in all three rounds. Lawler avoided a pair of attempted armbars in the second stanza, but finally got caught in a rear-naked choke at the 2:00 mark in the 3rdRound.
“[I will fight] whoever Strikeforce brings to me,” Souza stated. “I can’t wait to fight again. Strikeforce, make it happen ASAP.”