Third-ranked UFC middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza finally has a fight.
A report from Newsday on Friday cited UFC officials as confirming that Jacare would square off against Tim Boetsch in the promotion’s third trip to New York inside of four months. The two will fight at UFC 208 on Feb. 11. The promotion made its New York debut in November at Madison Square Garden, and then returned to the state in December for a Fight Night event in Albany.
UFC 208 will again be a sizable event with the inaugural women’s featherweight championship on the line at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Holly Holm and Germain de Randamie will battle it out in the main event for the belt.
Souza (23-4, 1 NC) hasn’t fought since May, when he stopped Vitor Belfort late in the first round of their UFC 198 co-main event clash. Souza has been trying to make his way into a title fight, but stumbled in the bout previous to Belfort, losing a split decision to Yoel Romero.
Since the win over Belfort, Jacare has been angling for a return to the Octagon, but has had trouble landing an opponent. So much so that his manager, Gilberto Faria, teased on Instagram that he was about to post an advertisement on Craigslist in an attempt to secure an opponent for his client.
Following a rocky road at middleweight, Boetsch (20-10) briefly toyed with a return to light heavyweight, but lost his first fight back at 205 pounds to Ed Herman in January of 2016. He has since returned to middleweight putting together back-to-back knockout victories over Josh Samman and Rafael Natal.
A win over the No. 3 ranked fighter in the division would be a big boost to Boetsch’s current middleweight momentum.