In addition to several other bouts released, UFC officials late Tuesday evening confirmed an earlier report by the Los Angeles Daily News revealing a rematch between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (20-3, 1 NC) and Gegard Mousasi (35-4-2).
The fight will serve as the UFC 176 co-main event on Aug. 2 in Los Angeles. The card is headlined by a featherweight championship bout between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes.
Jacare lost the original match-up with Mousasi, getting knocked out by an up-kick in a 2008 battle for the vacant Dream middleweight championship. He’s only lost one other time since that fight, which was when Luke Rockhold took the Strikeforce middleweight title belt from around his waist.
Outside of losing that championship, Jacare sandwiched the disappointment with 10 victories, and is currently on a six-fight streak. His three most recent victories – over Chris Camozzi, Yushin Okami, and Francis Carmont – have come in the Octagon, putting him within a breath of a UFC title shot.
Mousasi is 11-2-1 since defeating Jacare in 2008, but has already tasted defeat in his short stint in the Octagon.
After defeating Ilir Latifi in his promotional debut, Mousasi dropped a unanimous decision to former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who is next up to challenge middleweight titleholder Chris Weidman.
Regrouping after the loss, Mousasi looked outstanding in his last trip to the Octagon. He dominated Mark Munoz, stuffing the wrestler’s takedowns, and submitting him in the first round.
The winner of this rematch makes a strong case for knocking on the door of a title shot, particularly so for Jacare.