UFC middleweight Ed Herman believes opponent Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza will have a hard time making hay in the standup phase of their fight Saturday night at the final event for the Strikeforce promotion.
Herman was a guest on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour with host Ariel Helwani:
He throws hard. He's got a big right hand. But he's real wild. But I think he has a false sense of security in it...I'm going to exploit the mistakes that he makes on the feet.
Souza (16-3-1) is a jiu-jitsu black belt and has earned 12 pro wins by submission. Still, "Jacare" has recently shown a greater desire to strike, and in August knocked out Derek Brunson with punches.
Herman stopped short of saying Souza has shifted his overall philosophy in the cage, but did think Souza has improved his striking and is looking to do it more often. But Herman said he's banking on his strong chin to help him through.
I don't think he's gone away from [jiu-jitsu]. I just think he's more comfortable on his feet, more confident. He knows he hits hard, and he's going to depend on that a little bit. I can take a good shot, so he's going to have to do more than throw a big right hand at me.
In his last fight, Herman was out-grappled by another jiu-jitsu black belt and former Strikeforce champion, Jake Shields. The decision defeat in August became a no-contest after Shields failed a drug test. Against Souza, Herman said he'd be looking to work some ground-and-pound against and ultimately outlast the veteran.
I can knock him out, beat him up, wear him down. He tends to get tired in the later rounds. He's not going to like the taste of his own blood.
Herman (20-8-1) helped out his Zuffa employers in December when he agreed to replace the injured Lorenz Larkin against Souza. But the UFC veteran said he agreed to take the fight after receiving assurances that the fight could happen at a catchweight of 194 pounds.
It was a little short notice, but I needed to fight. This is a big name and exactly what I was looking for...[The catchweight] was something I wanted. I was a little heavy. They asked me if I wanted to do catchweight, and we accepted.
Herman also said he wouldn't have taken the fight without being guaranteed that he could return to the UFC afterward.
They said I'll be right back in the Octagon after this, and it pays the same, so let's do it.
Last week, Souza signed a five-fight deal with a Zuffa subsidiary, which appears to pave the way for Souza to finally compete in the UFC once Strikeforce officially closes.