UFC 208 Fight Breakdown: Jacare Souza vs Tim Boetsch

Jacare SouzaPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at a main card fight at UFC 208 as Jacare Souza returns to the Octagon to take on veteran Tim Boetsch at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Tim Boetsch (Record: 20-10, +400 Underdog, Power Ranking: C+) Tim Boetsch has been on a bit of a career resurgence, holding knockout victories in his last two bouts over the late Josh Samman and Rafael Natal. Prior to that, Boetsch had been on a three-fight losing streak. A four-time Maine high school wrestling champion, Boetsch went on to compete at Lock Haven in collegiate wrestling. He then moved onto MMA, where’s competed throughout his career at both middleweight and light heavyweight. Boetsch is fairly static on the feet and is known as a slow starter. He certainly isn’t the best athlete in the division but makes up for it by being tough and having a history for late comebacks. In fights that he was losing easily, he rallied to knock out both Yushin Okami and Brad Tavares. He has a very good uppercut, and if he lands it clean, he can certainly knock out an opponent. As one would expect, his wrestling is solid. He averages 1.68 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon and successfully secures 35 percent of his takedown attempts. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (Record: 23-4, -500 Favorite, Power Ranking: A+) The Team Black House / Team Nogueira trained fighter enters this bout on off a one-sided win over fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort. Jacare holds a 6-1 record in the UFC, with his lone loss coming via a controversial split decision to fellow title contender Yoel Romero. When it comes to Jacare, his game begins and ends with his submission grappling. Jacare has perhaps the highest level of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of anyone in the UFC. He’s a two-time ADCC submission wrestling gold medalist and a four-time gold medalist in the absolute division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships. Going to the ground with Jacare is not an option, as he’s as good as anybody with locking in a submission and ending the fight. Of Jacare’s 23 career wins, 16 of them have come by submission. Over the years, Jacare has improved his standup quite a bit. In just the past few years, he’s earned first-round knockouts of Top 10 middleweights Belfort and Derek Brunson. Jacare is also a durable fighter, having only been finished twice career. He’s certainly very much in the mix for the middleweight championship. Matchup Jacare is clearly one of the top middleweights in the UFC and arguably one of the Top 15 pound for pound fighters in the world. Any opponent that is tasked with facing Jacare is going to be in a difficult for contest. This is certainly an opportunity for Boetsch to prove he can compete with the division’s elite, but I believe he’s in way over his head in this bout. While Boetsch is a solid offensive wrestler, he doesn’t have the athleticism to compete from a defensive stand point. Jacare averages nearly 3.5 takedowns at a 45-percent success clip. Outside of fights he has knocked out opponents quickly, he has been able to secure at least one takedown in each bout he has had in the UFC. Boetsch is certainly susceptible to being taken down, and from there he is in a world of trouble against Jacare. Even if Jacare doesn’t seek out takedowns, he is a much better athlete than Boetsch and more than capable of landing heavy strikes on the feet. Look for Jacare to get another finish, clearing the path for his opportunity at the middleweight championship. Even at -500, Jacare is still very much worth putting into a parlay. He is very difficult to finish and has only lost (albeit close decisions) to the division’s elite. Props haven’t opened at the major sportsbooks, but Jacare inside the distance is also worth consideration. Knockout or submission props are not the strategy to use in this bout, as both are certainly plausible.

Written by Jay Primetown

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