Jack Hermansson marked his arrival as a legitimate player in the UFC middleweight championship realm, defeating Jacare Souza in the UFC on ESPN+ 8 main event on Saturday night in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Hermansson opened with a variety of feints, but Jacare was content to sit in the pocket and pick his counter punches. That worked for a time, but Hermansson eventually clipped Jacare and sent him to the canvas, where he sunk an arm-in guillotine choke.
Jacare deftly escaped the choke, but couldn’t do much to turn the tide before the end of the round.
Hermansson started quickly again in round two, but following a few brief striking exchanges, the Swede timed a Jacare kick to perfection and put the Brazilian on his back. Hermansson immediately went to work from inside full guard, where he remained for nearly the final four minutes of the round, peppering Jacare with ground and pound. He did little damage, but easily had to have won the round.
Hermansson peppered Jacare’s lead leg with kicks in the first two rounds and kept at it in round three, but at a more significant pace. Though Hermansson continued his high output approach, Jacare remained patient, countering with heavy punches, trying to find a finishing blow.
Jacare’s approach began to pay dividends in round three, as he started landing more and more body shots, slowing Hermansson and stuffing all of his takedown attempts in the round.
Jacare landed several hard right hands in the waning moments of round three, dropping Hermansson just before the horn, finally getting on the scoreboard.
Hermansson shot out of the gate, but Jacare stuffed him. He still tried to push the pace, somehow digging deep to land numerous punch combinations. Jacare survived it all, slowing him with a few well-placed power shots.
Hermansson kept pressing forward, especially busy with his jab, as Jacare kept his head down and tried to find the bigger shots that might put the Swede down. He found a couple in the final two minutes of the round, but Hermansson did a good job tying Jacare up along the fence and working knees to the body before jabbing his way to the end of the round.
After four frames, Hermansson was likely to be up three rounds to one, as his output greatly outnumbered that of Jacare.
Hermansson stormed across the cage to start the final round for a takedown, but the fight was quickly back on the feet with Hermansson continuously pumping his jab in Jacare’s face, setting up combinations.
Jacare, meanwhile, kept stalking Hermansson, trying to find an opening for the finish. He went back to working the body to set up the kill shot, but Hermansson kept firing back and took Jacare to the canvas as the fight came to a close.
When the scorecards were read, there were no surprises. Hermansson took a unanimous nod from the judges and leaped past Jacare in the hunt for a UFC middleweight title shot.
“I’m very happy, just a little bit tired. I am a force to be reckoned with. I am a title contender,” Hermansson said after the fight, already plotting his next move.
“I heard there was a (UFC) card in Copenhagen in October. I hope to headline that card. What I ask is for the UFC to get me the names that get me to that title shot.”
— UFC (@ufc) April 28, 2019
Greg Hardy finally gets his UFC career on track
In the UFC on ESPN+ 8 co-main event, Greg Hardy finally got in the UFC win column. After faltering by landing an illegal knee that got him disqualified in his Octagon debut, Hardy was much more focused and thoughtful about his approach in his sophomore effort.
Hardy was still head hunting, but not just winging punches as he frequently did in his previous bouts. Against former training partner Dmitrii Smoliakov, Hardy sat in the pocket, patiently picking his shots, waiting for Smoliakov to leave him an opening.
Hardy found that opening about two minutes into the opening round, as he hit Smoliakov with a few shots that sent the Russian to the canvas. The former NFL player swarmed and kept hammering Smoliakov with shots until the referee stepped in to wave it off at 2:15 or round one.
“I didn’t get lost in it this time,” Perry said after the fight. “I knew my purpose. I came out and executed.”
— UFC (@ufc) April 28, 2019
Mike Perry bests Alex Oliveira in back-and-forth battle
Mike Perry and Alex Oliveira promised a war and that it was. While Oliveira tried primarily to use his length to pick Perry apart from a distance, Perry countered well and worked his way to the inside where he could land power shots.
But just as either fighter would take the momentum, the other would shift it back the other way, leaving the fight in the hands of the judges, who scored it unanimously in Perry’s favor.
Glover Teixeira returns to light heavyweight contender form
Earlier in the night, Glover Teixeira survived a brutal first round in which Ion Cutelaba pummeled him with power shots. Teixeira new the first round was going to be difficult, but he survived and turned the tide in the second frame.
In round two, Teixeira started landing power shots of his own on the tiring Cutelaba. He eventually took the Moldovan to the canvas, softened him up, and then worked to his back for a fight-ending rear-naked choke.
Jim Miller wins and keeps adding to his UFC records
With 31 UFC bouts to his credit, Jim Miller has more fights in the Octagon than any other fighter in history. He also has more wins than any other lightweight in the UFC. He notched his number of lightweight victories to 18 with a submission of Jason Gonzalez at 2:12 of the first round in Florida.
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UFC Ft. Lauderdale Full Results: Jacare vs. Hermansson
Main Card (on ESPN+)
- Jack Hermansson def. Jacare Souza by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
- Greg Hardy def. Dmitrii Smoliakov by TKO (strikes) at 2:15, R1
- Mike Perry def. Alex Oliveira by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Glover Teixeira def. Ion Cutelaba by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:37, R2
- Cory Sandhagen def. John Lineker by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Roosevelt Roberts def. Thomas Gifford by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Prelims (on ESPN)
- Takashi Satoa def. Ben Saunders by TKO (strikes) at 1:18, R2
- Augusto Sakai def. Andrei Arlovski by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Carla Esparza def. Virna Jandiroba by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Gilbert Burns def. Mike Davis by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:16, R2
Early Prelims (on ESPN+)
- Jim Miller def. Jason Gonzalez by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:12, R1
- Angela Hill def. Jodie Esquibel by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Dhiego Lima def. Court McGee by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)