Jan Blachowicz edges closer to title shot with close decision win over Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza

Jan Blachowicz is on the campaign trail for a shot at Jon Jones’ UFC light heavyweight title and he staked a claim with a close split decision win over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in enemy territory.

It was a largely uneventful headline act for the Sao Paulo, Brazil crowd on Saturday night as each combatant seemingly respected their opponent’s game a little too much. Blachowicz was hesitant to fight in close quarters to avoid the takedown and Jacare’s world-class ground game. Meanwhile the Brazilian was reluctant to engage in an effort to avoid Blachowicz’s Polish knockout power as he made his light heavyweight debut.

Souza stated he wanted to stick to his bread and butter of Brazilian jiu jitsu ahead of the fight and constantly sought after takedowns in the clinch against the cage, but Blachowicz rebuffed every single takedown attempt while offering little offense in return.

It took until the fifth round for any tangible events to happen in the fight when Jacare was stung by a right uppercut and was left stumbling in retreat.

It was uninspiring, but a solid win over a dangerous opponent to add to Blachowicz’s growing resume he chases the UFC light heavyweight championship.


Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Paul Craig fight to split draw

In the co-main event, living Brazilian MMA legend Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua fought to a split draw decision with Paul Craig.

Former Pride FC grand prix winner and UFC light heavyweight champion Rua was in trouble in the fight’s early stages.

Scotland’s Craig, who was a late-notice replacement for the injured Sam Alvey, almost caught himself a standing guillotine choke before battering Rua against the cage in an attempt to earn a shock victory.

However, Rua rallied for the second round by getting the takedown and punishing his adversary on the ground with all manner of punches for much of the stanza.

The third round was a tough one to score with Rua spending much of it on top of Craig, though the latter secured a takedown of his own towards the contest’s final stages.

Odd to say, but it’s understandable why the judges sat cageside couldn’t determine a winner. Though it was arguably a fair result, Craig must rue the chance squandered to take Shogun out in the opening five minutes to earn a win that would have surprised many.


UFC Sao Paulo: Jan Blachowicz vs. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza full results

Light Heavyweight: Jan Błachowicz def. Ronaldo Souza by split decision after five rounds
Light Heavyweight: Maurício Rua vs. Paul Craig ended in a split draw after three rounds
Lightweight: Charles Oliveira def. Jared Gordon by KO (punches) at 1:26 of round one
Middleweight: Andre Muniz def. Antonio Arroyo by unanimous decision after three rounds
Middleweight: Wellington Turman def. Markus Perez by unanimous decision after three rounds
Welterweight: James Krause def. Sérgio Moraes by KO (punches) at 4:19 of round three
Featherweight: Ricardo Ramos def. Luiz Eduardo Garagorri by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:57 of round one
Lightweight: Francisco Trinaldo def. Bobby Green by unanimous decision after three rounds
Welterweight: Randy Brown def. Warlley Alves by submission (triangle choke) at 1:22 of round two
Featherweight: Douglas Silva de Andrade def. Renan Barão by unanimous decision after three rounds
Catchweight: Ariane Lipski def. Isabella de Padua by unanimous decision after three rounds
Women’s Bantamweight: Tracy Cortez def. Vanessa Melo by unanimous decision after three rounds