MMAFighting.com is reporting that a Strikeforce middleweight match up between champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and young MMA veteran “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler has been set up for the upcoming January 29th card, which is to be held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
Brazilian submission specialist Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has compiled a 13-2 record in MMA since transitioning from pure grappling sports. A black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Judo, Souza is counted among the best grapplers in the world. Since making the move to MMA in 2003, “Jacare” has steadily improved his striking game and wrestling to become a more well-rounded and complete mixed martial artist. After losing his first professional bout to Jorge Patino, “Jacare” rattled off ten wins in a row; he wouldn’t lose again until he met DREAM light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi in the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix in 2008. He has won three in a row since then, over Matt Lindland, Joey Villasenor and Tim Kennedy. His win over Kennedy earned him the vacant Strikeforce middleweight championship, which Jake Shields left behind to try his luck in the UFC.
Despite being only 28-years old, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler is one of the more established and experience fighters currently competing in mixed martial arts. Lawler gained notoriety as a knockout artist in the UFC, making his debut in that organization at UFC 37 in 2002. The former Miletich Fighting Systems product and current HIT Squad member spent time in the cage with MMA luminaries Nick Diaz, Evan Tanner, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Jake Shields, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral. He holds impressive wins over Chris Lytle, Joey Villasenor, Frank Trigg, Murilo “Ninja” Rua, Scott Smith, Melvin Manhoef and Matt Lindland. He is 2-2 in his last four fights, splitting wins over Lindland and Manhoef with losses to Sobral and Shields. He earned his title shot by knocking out Lindland earlier this month at Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2.
How do you think Lawler will fare against the champ? Do you believe him to be the most deserving contender in the middleweight division? Let us know in the comments section.