Strikeforce's final event kicks off with what is expected to be a good scrap between Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and longtime UFC competitor Ed "Short Fuse" Herman.
Herman has been with the UFC since competing on The Ultimate Fighter 3, where he placed second after losing to Kendall Grove. Herman owns a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and fights out of Team Quest, where notable MMA veterans like Dan Henderson and Randy Couture have honed their skills.
After a disastrous 1-3 run in 2008-09, Herman has put together three straight wins along with a NC against Jake Shields.
Souza is a name well known by many in the MMA community. He's without a doubt one of the top five BJJ artists in the world and routinely brings in a number of talented fighters to prepare him for his contests.
While his grappling is world class, Jacare's striking leaves much to be desired. With that being said, the Brazilian has improved in each of his contests.
Herman should have a place in the UFC whether he loses or wins, but Souza could be inserted into the UFC title picture if he puts in an impressive performance on Saturday night.
With such an advantage in the grappling game, will it be another Jacare submission or will Herman be too much for the Brazilian to handle?
Weight: 185 pounds
Reach: 75 inches
Overall Record: 20-8-(1)
Notable Wins: Brian Ebersole, Glover Teixeira, Dave Menne, David Loiseau
Notable Losses: Alan Belcher, Demian Maia, Kendall Grove, Kazuo Misaki
Weight: 185 pounds
Reach: 74 inches
Overall Record: 16-3-(1)
Notable Wins: Robbie Lawler, Tim Kennedy, Matt Lindland, Alexander Shlemenko
Notable Losses: Gegard Mousasi, Luke Rockhold
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza only owns a single victory via KO/TKO in his MMA career, but it also occurred in his last fight. Souza showcased his new striking skills against Derek Brunson and stopped the middleweight in only 41 seconds.
Similar to Souza, Ed Herman owns very few victories via knockout. Of Herman's total victories, only five have come via KO/TKO. Two of those wins came as a result of corner stoppage and an injury so it's clear that Herman prefers to win utilizing his ground game rather than striking prowess, too.
Neither man will ever win a striking contest in the UFC, but I would have to say Souza is the more dynamic striker at this point. Herman is more of a grinder and likes to use his dirty boxing while on the feet. He looks to get in his opponent's face quickly and prefers to throw strikes by volume over technique.
I believe any extended striking exchanges between Souza and Herman will end with one man attempting a takedown or clinch, so don't expect to see any great striking technique on display on Saturday night.
If there's one aspect of this fight that intrigues fans most, it's definitely the grappling prowess of both Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Ed Herman. Both are Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts but to compare their ground games would be blasphemy.
I take nothing away from Herman—he's a very accomplished grappler—but Souza is one of the very best BJJ artists in the world. The grappling achievements for Souza are as numerous as they are prestigious. Outside of guys like Roger Gracie, Souza doesn't lose very often when it comes to grappling.
Herman will be able to hold his own initially, but I have to believe Souza has too many tricks up his sleeve. If the fight goes to the mat, Herman will likely look to utilize a suffocating top game to not allow "Jacare" any space to move.
If "Jacare" ends up on top, it may be a matter of time before the Brazilian secures a tapout.
How this fight plays out is largely based on how confident Ed Herman is. The middleweight fighter loves to bring it and be the aggressor in his fights. However, that could play right into Ronaldo Souza's strengths.
If Herman is confident enough in his own grappling skills, look for "Short Fuse" to push the pace against the Brazilian. If Herman wants to avoid the ground game of Souza (not a bad idea), we may see a more conservative game plan. He will have a slight height and reach advantage and might look to keep his distance from the BJJ ace.
For Souza, the plan is simple—takedown to tap out. Souza has improved his striking game but it's nothing more than a complement to his grappling skills. His biggest strength is his submission skills and regardless of Herman's BJJ skills, Souza won't be afraid to look for a submission.
In the end, I believe Herman is scrappy enough to put up a fight, but Souza is just too talented for the UFC vet to handle.