Robert Whittaker took out Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC on FOX 24 on Saturday in Kanas City, proving that he not only belongs at the top of the division, but that he deserves to be considered for a title shot.
Jacare had been angling for a title shot for a long time prior to Saturday’s fight, but he saw his hopes for a crack at middleweight titleholder Michael Bisping go up in smoke, as Whittaker realized his potential and claimed a spot in title talks.
It was clear from the opening bell that Whittaker wanted nothing to do with Jacare on the ground. The New Zealander remained light on his fight, darting in and out with a lunging jab, putting on the sting, but not leaving himself as a target for long.
Jacare tried for the takedown several times, getting Whittaker to the canvas on a couple of occasions, but Whittaker was prepared and quickly returned the fight to standing both times.
Having gained confidence from his first-round performance, Whittaker wasted little time in round two, coming at Jacare and landing a right hand that dropped the Brazilian in the opening seconds of the frame. Whittaker dropped on top of his foe, but wary of engaging on the ground, he backed out and forced Jacare to stand.
Jacare was wobbly as he regained his footing and Whittaker, although calculated with his attacks, didn’t relent.
After landing a few one-off punches, he found the opening he was waiting for and blasted Jacare with a right kick to the face. Whittaker followed with a couple punches that put Jacare on the canvas again.
This time he saw the finish and followed Jacare to the canvas with savage intent, unloading with a flurry of punches and elbows that forced the referee to stop the fight.
“My coaches drill it in me day in and day out, be patient and it will come. And that’s exactly what I did,” said Whittaker.
“As a fan of the sport, I am gutted to see Jacare lose,” he added, but wasn’t shy about who he would like to fight next.
“Bisping owes me a fight. He’s cool doing his own thing, but you owe me a fight man.”