UFC Sao Paulo Main Event Recap
By Matt Wise
Jan Blachowicz took the spoils in an underwhelming main event in Sao Paulo to wreck Jacare Souza’s light heavyweight debut.
The gameplan for Jacare was to put Blachowicz on the back foot and force him against the fence where he could stay away from the Pole’s power.
In the opening round, aside from a couple of leg kicks either side, Jacare had his way despite being unable to land a takedown, and instead racked up the control time against the fence.
Blachowicz stepped up a gear in round two and began firing at a considerably higher rate. His leg kicks scored well in particular, doing a good job of setting Jacare off his rhythm. Blachowicz also used his jab which was absent in the opening round.
The fighters eventually ended up in the same clinched position against the fence initiated by Jacare, but Blachowicz this time escaped before landing a couple more shots before the bell.
Blachowicz continued to lean on his jab and Jacare began retreating for the first time in the fight. With leg kicks landing on either side, both fighters had visible damage now; Jacare to his left shin, and Blachowicz his left foot. Jacare shot for the legs which again forced Blachowicz against the cage, where Jacare would lean on his opponent.
The Brazilian seemed content to stay in the position, but Blachowicz forced the separation, knowing he had to make the contest a striking battle.
Jacare went for a takedown early in the fourth round, and Blachowicz squeezed in some uppercuts in anticipation of the shot. The pair ended up in the clinch against the fence yet again, before Blachowicz forced himself away.
The Polish striker threw kicks to the body which Jacare felt the force of, looking to force him back in the process. With both fighters hesitant to throw combinations of any sort, the crowd began getting restless and booed the pair as they returned to their stalls.
Jacare shot for another takedown which he almost secured, and Blachowicz was instead forced up against the fence. No strikes were thrown from the Brazilian, and referee Kevin McDonald stepped in to separate the pair.
The separation did not prevent Jacare from sticking to his gameplan, though, and he fired in for another takedown. Blachowicz met the attempt with an uppercut which wobbled Jacare, and he fell to the floor, only to bounce straight back up and the pair continued as if nothing had happened.
Following this, Jacare looked even less enthusiastic to engage and was happy to roll the dice and risk the decision.
In the end, a split decision separated the pair, and Jan Blachowicz was the man with his hand raised in the air. Two judges scored the contest 48-47, with the other in favour of Jacare by the same score.