Whenever fans watch title fights, it is always exciting for us to see both fighters really hungry for the gold. A title fight is the pinnacle of a combatant’s career and the payoff for all of their hard work. Unfortunately, the pressure of title fights can also bring about anxiety leaving fighters fighting a bit too careful.
The fight was a calculated stand up battle that saw "Jacare" get the nod for effective striking and control through all five rounds of the bout. The new champion had his control in the cage but the bout also left fans wanting a bit more. Kennedy fought a tough fight but it was simply not enough to topple the game Brazilian.
Tim Kennedy facing off against “Jacare” Souza had all the makings of a great bout. Kennedy possessed the image that most look for in a champion with his decorated military career and gentleman like demeanor.
Kennedy trains hard hits hard and is humble in his wins. “Jacare” Souza had street credit being an Abu Dhabi grappling champion as well as a successful series of fights in Japan as well as wins over tough US competition.
Entering into the cage most analysts looked at this bout as a glorified striker vs. grappler contest. Kennedy has shown that he throws power in his hands and in top position while “Jacare” shows his abilities in his sneaky takedowns and submissions.
However one of the greatest things about the sport of MMA is the unpredictability that happens in the cage. “Jacare” showed his ever improving striking ability landing jabs and right hands cleanly to his opponents face. Kennedy seemed to be seeking a staggering one punch counter punch that appeared to be eluding him.
Both fighters seemed to lack the killer instinct to take over the fight and overtake their opponent. Kennedy showed great hesitation with his punches and approached Souza with hands down and chin up. “Jacare” while showing confidence on his feet lacked the ability to mix up striking with his incredible take down ability.
“Jacare” bruised and battered Kennedy leaving Tim with a badly bruised eye and blood flowing. Later in the fight Kennedy began to have a bit more success with his striking but simply not enough to put the Brazilian in trouble at any time.
With many questioning “Jacare’s” conditioning after his last fight it was simply not an issue for either fighter with the slow pace of the bout. With Souza landing the more damaging blows of the fight it was inevitably his fight to win.
Kennedy had a devastating take down in round five but it was too little too late to sway the score cards. The judges agreed and “Jacare” Souza was awarded the majority decision and the Strikeforce Middleweight title. While this bout seemed to be interesting on paper both fighters must make adjustments for future bouts.
Kennedy must adjust his defensive abilities on the feet keeping his hands up as well as pushing the pace more on his opponent. For the newly crowned “Jacare” he must learn to mix his styles better to make himself harder to read. If “Jacare” blends his boxing style with his take downs and submissions he will have gold around his waist for a long time to come.
Killer instinct and hunger for the win may have been at a loss for this fight but skill was certainly shown on both sides of the cage. We look forward to seeing both in the Strikeforce cage soon.