While MMA is very popular in the United States, it’s a passion in Brazil. The UFC thus stages at least a few events each year there and returns this Saturday with a UFC Fight Night 164 Card in Sao Paulo headlined by light heavyweight bout between Jan Blachowicz (24-8) and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (26-7). Let’s take a look at the latest UFC Odds while making some predictions.
UFC Fight Night 164 Odds, Preview & Predictions
- When: Saturday, 8 PM ET (main card)
- Where: Ginasio Do Ibirapuera, Sao Paulo
- TV: ESPN+
Jan Blachowicz (24-8) vs. Jacare Souza (26-7)
Blachowicz is a -205 favorite for this light heavyweight bout with Souza at +165. Blachowicz, from Poland, is a former KSW light heavyweight champion ranked No. 6 in the UFC light heavyweight rankings. In January 2014, after completing a 17-3 record on the European scene, Blachowicz signed a contract to fight in the light heavyweight division of the UFC. In his UFC debut, Blachowicz faced Ilir Latifi on October 4, 2014, at UFC Fight Night 53.] He won the fight via TKO in the first round.
Blachowicz hadn’t finished a fighter since then until last time out when he beat Luke Rockhold in July by second-round knockout. In Round 2, Rockhold landed a two-punch combination right away, but was caught with a counter and backed away.
Blachowicz landed some leg kicks but was pushed against the cage. Rockhold tried to throw Blachowicz off the cage, but on the separation, Blachowicz landed a short right hand followed by a picture-perfect left hook that knocked Rockhold clean out. Souza is a Brazilian legend who is a former Strikeforce middleweight champion – this is his light heavyweight debut. Souza can claim victories over three former UFC champions in Robbie Lawler, Chris Weidman, and Vitor Belfort.
Jacare was scheduled to face Yoel Romero on April 27, 2019 at UFC Fight Night 150 but Romero pulled out of the bout due to illness. Souza remained on the card and faced Jack Hermansson in the main event but lost the fight by unanimous decision in an upset.
One on One
On both the ground and the feet, Hermansson outworked the jiu-jitsu ace Souza, pulling ahead on the scorecards with a volume approach while Jacare tried for one big finish. In the end, all three judges scored the bout for Hermansson, giving him the biggest win of his career with scores of 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47. Hermansson came closest to ending the fight when he latched on his signature submission after hurting Souza with punches in the first.
Blachowicz has predicated a second-round knockout of Jacare. Souza is known for his incredible ground game, and has finished the majority of his fights by the way of submission. He has also proven his ability to take people out on the feet, making him a very dangerous opponent. However, Blachowicz said he’s not afraid to go to the ground with Souza if he has to, but admits he’d rather keep the fight on the feet.
Souza’s one-shot power striking could be dangerous, but he has slowed down recently to a point where Blachowicz should manage to outbox him, particularly considering the Pole’s reach advantage. While the grappling department is where it gets more interesting, Blachowicz should have enough to get by there. He is underrated on the mat.
Mauricio Rua (26-11) vs. Paul Craig (12-4)
Rua is -275 for this light heavyweight bout with Craig at +215. Sam Alvey was scheduled to face Rua at the event. However, Alvey was removed from the fight on October 25 due to a broken hand and replaced by Craig.
Another legend in Brazil and a professional fighter since 2002, Rua is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and the 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Champion. At UFC 104, “Shogun” Rua lost by unanimous decision to then-UFC light heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida. All three judges scored the bout 48-47 in Machida’s favor. However, many thought Rua won.
Due to the controversy of the UFC 104 decision, a rematch was immediately announced and took place at UFC 113 in Montreal. Rua won via knockout at 3:35 of Round 1, after dropping Machida with a right and following up with punches on the ground. Rua last fought in December against Tyson Pedro at UFC Fight Night 142. He won the fight via technical knockout in round three, finishing Pedro with a flurry of strikes after Pedro suffered a leg injury and was unable to defend himself.
Craig is a former BAMMA world light heavyweight champion but largely unknown. Craig last fought against Vinicius Moreira in September won the fight via a rear-naked choke submission in the first round. It was worth Craig’s fourth Performance of the Night award. Craig is the rare submission specialist in a higher weight class, which makes him dangerous for every moment of the fight.
Rua has the stronger frame and enough grappling chops to neutralize everything the Scot has to offer.
Expert UFC Fight Night 164 Betting Picks
Blachowicz by decision and Rua by the same.
Rest of the UFC Fight Night 164 Card
- Charles Oliveira vs. Jared Gordon
- Antonio Arroyo vs. Andre Muniz
- Markus Perez vs. Wellington Turman
- Sérgio Moraes vs. James Krause
- Ricardo Ramos vs. Luiz Eduardo Garagorri
- Francisco Trinaldo vs. Bobby Green
- Warlley Alves vs. Randy Brown
- Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Renan Barão
- Ariane Lipski vs. Veronica Macedo
- Vanessa Melo vs. Tracy Cortez