Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza vs. Chris Camozzi: Full-Fight Technical Breakdown
Souza grounded Camozzi in slightly more than a minute and had the fight finished with an arm triangle before the end of the first round. The win was Souza's 14th via submission in his blossoming MMA career. He's so excellent on the ground that Souza has made submitting UFC veterans in his last two fights look like a walk in the park.
It takes a highly-skilled and even well-rounded fighter to do what Souza did to Camozzi on Saturday, though. Let's take a closer look at exactly how the former Strikeforce champion breezed through his UFC debut so easily.
While the jab is the most commonly used strike to set up combinations, Camozzi was probably going to it too often against Souza. Aside from a telegraphed left head kick from the southpaw stance, Camozzi was opening with a right jab every time he engaged with Souza.
It took Souza all of 40 seconds to pick up on that tendency, and he was able to start countering and closing the distance as a result.
However, Souza was the aggressor when he landed the most significant strike of the one-round fight.
As great as Souza is on the ground, it's his consistent improvement in the striking department that has him looking like a potential middleweight title challenger.
We've seen plenty of great jiu-jitsu practitioners come into MMA and have trouble working their game because they don't have the takedowns of top amateur wrestlers. Without the ability to take opponents down, these jiu-jitsu fighters are forced to stand or find themselves being shut down on their back by adversaries with solid submission defense.
Souza is not one of those individuals.
The Brazilian had two very nice takedown attempts within the first 70 seconds of his bout with Camozzi. The brilliant thing about both of them was that Souza forced Camozzi to put himself in danger rather than forcing the attempts without setups.
First, Souza found himself in the clinch with Camozzi's right arm stuck in tight between the fighters' bodies. In this situation, Souza knew Camozzi would need to slip his right elbow backward in an effort secure an underhook. As that movement came, it created an opening for Souza to drop level and attempt a single-leg takedown.
Souza wasn't able to finish the takedown, and he may have benefited from turning his head inside so that his left ear was on Camozzi's body instead of his right, but it was a solid attempt nonetheless.
On his one successful takedown, Souza transitioned from striking to wrestling beautifully. "Jacare" tried to knee Camozzi's body, which prompted his opponent to lift his left leg in an attempt to deflect the strike. Realizing Camozzi would have to shift his weight back to his left when bringing that left leg down, Souza wrapped his right leg behind his adversary's knee. At the same time, the Brazilian twisted Camozzi's torso with his right arm and drove to his right.
With his left leg taken away by Souza, Camozzi went to the canvas as he tried to return that support to the ground, and "Jacare" nearly landed in full-mount right away.
Once Souza had Camozzi on the ground, it was only a matter of time until he locked up a submission.
However, Souza would first have to pass his opponent's guard before he could threaten Camozzi, and he actually had to work harder to that transition than expected. Eventually, though, Souza was able to capitalize on a small mistake made by Camozzi.
With Souza standing over him, Camozzi kicked low with his right leg and made the error of crossing his opponent's right leg with the strike. Camozzi's right leg now stuck on his right thigh, Souza passed his foe's left leg across his body and collapsed downward to create room to circle leftward into side control.
From side control, Souza could begin working toward a finish, and Camozzi practically handed it to him on a silver platter.
With his left leg flat on the canvas, Camozzi was asking to be mounted by Souza. It didn't take long for Souza to sniff out this opening and slide his left knee across Camozzi's belly. Souza kept his right forearm draped across Camozzi's neck so that the arm triangle would present itself when the fighter on the bottom rolled to his left.
Souza buried his right ear into Camozzi's shoulder and slipped his right leg over to his opponent's right side to tighten the choke. From the time that he secured the arm triangle and moved back to side control, it took Camozzi under two seconds to go unconscious, as shown by his left arm going limp.
Although it wasn't against a top-10 middleweight, Souza showed a lot more than excellent jiu-jitsu at UFC on FX 8. He showed the kind of well-rounded game that could make him a champion in the UFC's 185-pound division.
Before he's thrown at one of the division's top contender's, though, it'd be nice to see Souza tested against a top-notch wrestler. A bout with the winner of a UFC 162 fight between Mark Munoz and Tim Boetsch would give "Jacare" a chance to prove himself as a serious contender.
Sean Smith is a Featured MMA Columnist for Bleacher Report who has also had work promoted on UFC.com and TheMMACorner.com. Follow @SeanSmithMMA.
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