RONALDO “Jacare” Souza is tired of sitting on the sidelines so the No. 3 ranked middleweight contender is getting back in action on February 11 (US time) at UFC 208 in Brooklyn.
‘Jacare’ will face veteran middleweight Tim Boetsch, ranked 14th, as part of the card headlined by the first ever women’s featherweight title fight of Holly Holm vs Germaine De Randamie.
UFC officials confirmed the fight to Newsday on Friday.
It’s an interesting move for “Jacare” considering his status in the 185-pound division, where he is arguably no more than a fight away from competing for the title but hasn’t fought since last May when he defeated former UFC champion Vitor Belfort.
Unfortunately, the 37-year-old Brazilian is sitting behind Yoel Romero as No.1 contender, after his last bout against No.2 Luke Rockhold was scrapped in November following an injury to the former champion, with Romero then destroying Chris Weidman at UFC 205 to stake his claim for a shot at reigning champ Michael Bisping.
There’s no word on when Rockhold will be eligible to return to the Octagon, so “Jacare” clearly decided to book another fight in the interim.
Boetsch has faced his fair share of ups and downs in recent years but the No.14 ranked middleweight has recently put together a pair of impressive finishes over Josh Samman and Rafael Natal in consecutive fights.
Now Boetsch has a chance to take on a top five middleweight in Souza as part of the UFC’s debut card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Where this leaves Robert Whittaker, Australia’s No.6 ranked middleweight, is unclear. UFC president Dana White promised that ‘The Reaper’s’ next opponent would be a top five middleweight, in a big fight in Las Vegas – which suggests on the UFC 209 card, March 4 (US time) at T-Mobile Arena.
Weidman (No.4) is apparently resting up, after No.5 Gegard Mousasi claimed he had been offered a match against the former champion.
The latest developments would seem to make Mousasi, 31, the logical pick for Whittaker’s next opponent. The Dutch fighter (41-6-2) is on a four-fight winning streak.
Whittaker is on a six-fight winning streak and the 26-year-old is coming off an immensely impressive Round 1 TKO of Derek Brunson in Melbourne – a fight that happened just one week after Mousasi’s last match, a Round 1 TKO win over Uriah Hall.
Mousasi has said recently that he’d be happy to face Whittaker, as both are well-rounded fighters on an upward trajectory in the division.
Jacare had previously been touted as a possible match-up for Whittaker in MMA media.