Both unscathed middleweight combatants, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Matt “The Law” Lindland, discussed future plans during the Strikeforce: Evolution post-fight press conference. DREAM migrant Jacare made quick work of UFC veteran Lindland with a convincing first round arm triangle choke, building the case that he is the number one contender for Jake Shields middleweight crown. With Shields and newly acquired Dan Henderson doing battle for the belt in April on Strikeforce’s next CBS card, Jacare will have to wait and settle for other prospective opponents.
“With my history in MMA and everything that has happened for the fans, I feel like I deserve a shot at the middleweight belt,” he said. “Yeah Mousasi landed a strong shot, he won that fight. If he wants to fight at 185, then let’s have it. I’ll fight him at 185.” The two squared off back in September ’08 at the DREAM middleweight Grand Prix after Jacare submitted Zelg Galesic with an armbar in the semi-finals but the Brazilian’s championship hopes came to a crashing halt in the finals when Mousasi landed a devastating high kick to earn the knockout victory.
Another potential opponent, from the same DREAM Grand Prix tournament, would be Jason “Mayhem” Miller who was last seen dropping a unanimous decision to current titleholder Jake Shields. Jacare and Miller share a turbulent history together after twice meeting in the ring under the Japanese DREAM banner. Jacare won a unanimous decision in the first fight at DREAM 4 and a “no-contest” after receiving an illegal soccer kick from Miller nearly a year later at DREAM 9. A third fight with Miller is not something Jacare wants to entertain at the moment.
“Pretty much what happened at that fight wasn’t very professional on his [Miller] end. We won the first fight and the second fight happened how it did, I don’t see why I’d have to fight him again. But if it were to happen, he’s a fighter, and I’ll fight whoever I need to,” Jacare explained when asked about the potential Miller fight.
Fresh off his impressive submission victory of the 39 year old Oregon native, Matt Lindland, Jacare proved that he adds another competitive dimension to Strikeforce’s ever-growing and deepest division. Despite the loss, the 185lbs division is exactly where Lindland wants to be as well.
“I fought in the UFC for five years looking for some competition and I guess I finally found it here at Strikeforce. Man, that middleweight division is so deep with guys like Scott [Smith] and Cung [Le] that was an amazing fight. To be in this division with those guys is….It just wasn’t my night,” said Lindland.
Though he does not remember the arm triangle that nearly put him to sleep, “The Law” clearly recalled rolling with Jacare and trying to impose his game plan of getting a dominant top position once the fight hit the ground. It was a strategy Lindland was unable to execute against the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert, Jacare.
“He put that armbar on so quick, we were rolling around and then I rolled out of it. I didn’t want him on top of me, I wanted to be on top but he’s phenomenal at transitions and sweeps. I don’t remember a triangle from any position or the arm triangle that almost put me to sleep.” The loss to Jacare is Lindland’s second consecutive loss suffered in the first round leading many to believe that the once dominant wrestler has seen his glory days come and go. Despite falling off the contender platform, he still is a notable name for the young MMA organization to have on its roster. Looking forward, Lindland is anxious to return to the cage as soon as possible.
“I’m really disappointed I got caught in that choke because he didn’t even beat me up. I need to get right back in there because I’m really anxious now but he did a phenomenal job. Congratulations to Jacare and thanks to Strikeforce for having me.”