UFC 198: Demian Maia and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza Hosted Grappling Clinics En Route To Victory

By Raphael Garcia

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was on display at UFC 198. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Demian Maia put on two performances that proved they are amongst the best BJJ practitioners to ever make the move to mixed martial arts. Both of their victories consisted of a perfect blending of grappling arts, which left Matt Brown and Vitor Belfort vastly outmatched from start to finish.

From a statistical standpoint provided by FightMetric, Maia and Souza truly dominated their fights with grappling. Maia hit three takedowns during the three-round affair before finishing Brown in the third, while Souza needed just one takedown to start the course that led to finishing Belfort in the first. What’s even more impressive is that these two men combined to pass the guard of their opponents nine times in just four rounds of competition.

Maia controlled the positioning of the fight from start to finish. Brown did the best he could to fight off seven of his opponent’s takedown attempts, but it was the three Maia did complete that sealed the American’s fate. Maia not only won the position battle, but he also controlled Brown’s back for more than ten minutes of their near fifteen-minute fight.

Souza, on the other hand, tore through Belfort’s guard to get into the perfect position to pummel him into a TKO stoppage. Once the fight hit the ground, Belfort, who is also a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, had no answer for Souza’s passing and control, leaving him open to take 36 of 48 ground strikes from “Jacare.” By the time the stoppage came at the 4:38 mark, Belfort was a bloody mess looking for a mercy stoppage by referee Osiris Maia.

Maia’s finish didn’t include the same type of brutality as his countryman, but it represented the “beauty” that comes with the correct application of technique in combat sports. In three rounds of fighting he landed 91 of 110 strikes, but they were more to create openings for takedowns and advancing position while on the ground. Brown is a high-volume fighter who lands nearly four strikes per minute, but Maia’s aggressiveness in closing the distance held him to only 46 strike attempts. Once again Maia was able to eliminate his opponent’s greatest strength through the application of crisp and technical Jiu Jitsu.

The futures for both Maia and “Jacare” are up for grabs. Souza may be closer to a title shot than Maia, but they both used UFC 198 to remind the world how fantastic their BJJ skills are in the cage. But their fellow competitors shouldn’t have needed the reminder at all.

UFC 198

Matt Brown vs. Demian Maia: Demian Maia def. Matt Brown via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:31 of Round 3.

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UFC 198

Vitor Belfort vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: Ronaldo Souza def. Vitor Belfort via TKO (strikes) at 4:38 of Round 1.

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UFC 198: Werdum vs. Miocic took place on May 14, 2016 at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil.

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