Fighter Profile: Jack Hermansson
By Ross Markey
Saturday night not only offers a hasty turnaround for Jack Hermansson, but ‘The Joker’ also meets the stiffest test of his career so far as he fills in against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player Jacaré Souza at UFC Fight Night Fort Lauderdale. Original headliner Yoel Romero was struck down with a bout of pneumonia earlier this month, allowing Sweden born Hermansson to established himself as a real threat to the middleweight crown in this weekend’s main event.
Competing just less than a month ago, ‘The Joker’ cooly took out another proficient grappler, in the form of New York native David Branch. During his time with the UFC, Hermansson has displayed quite frightening ground-and-pound against the likes of Thales Leites and Brad Scott, posturing to create space for his vicious barrage. His most recent finishes since the Leites win are two to study in depth heading into this clash with Jacaré.
The Arm-In Variation
Against the tough Gerald Meerschaert, Hermansson secured a much polished arm-in guillotine, a favored technique of his. The Swede was dominant from top position, and ultimately forced a scramble which led to the bout’s eventual conclusion. ‘The Joker’ jumped on a front headlock and began to tighten up that arm-in variation. His March victory over David Branch was all too similar but in a more timely fashion. Tying up with the Renzo Gracie black belt, Hermansson executed an expert outside trip, which the previously mentioned Romero would’ve been proud of, before finishing the takedown on top. Immediately jumping to that arm-in choke, Branch was forced to tap inside the opening minute mark.
Those quick-fire opening round wins have certainly built up a head of steam for Hermansson, but Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza presents a truly colossal challenge. Primarily, we’ve seen most of Hermansson’s successful work come from the top. When pitted with someone of Jacaré’s grappling expertise, this becomes an interesting factor heading into the matchup. Jacaré’s Jiu-Jitsu exploits speak for themselves and apart from Hermansson’s arm-in guillotine, we really haven’t witnessed any other offensive grappling tools from ‘The Joker’. On the other hand, Souza has a heavily stocked arsenal of fight-ending joint and choke submissions. Arm-triangles, kimuras, guillotines and rear-naked chokes have all been utilized to take out the likes of Gegard Mousasi, Robbie Lawler, Tim Boetsch, Chris Camozzi and Alexander Shlemenko.
Hermansson’s bottom game has only been tested on one occasion in the Octagon, and resulted in one of only two promotion defeats. Grappling standout Cezar ‘Mutante’ Ferreira locked up an arm-triangle on the 30 year-old. In his brief stint with Bellator MMA, Hermansson was also finished by submission, this time to Jason Butcher via triangle. A route to victory over Souza solely depends on whether or not Hermansson can establish top control without being swept by the wily Brazilian. Former middleweight championship challenge Leites was eventually finished with strikes by ‘The Joker’ after a failed sweep attempt which allowed Jack to transition to full mount.