JARAGUA DO SUL, Brazil – Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (18-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) put Chris Camozzi (19-6 MMA, 6-3 UFC) to sleep in incredibly quick fashion at UFC on FX 8, but the Brazilian submission ace said he knew what was going to happen as soon as he locked in the fight-finishing arm-triangle choke.
“All my life I was very good in that move; now I’m really practicing it a lot,” Souza said through an interpreter at Saturday night’s post-event press conference. “I’m also doing a lot of cardio work, so obviously I’m much stronger. When I held my opponent, I heard his neck snapping, so I knew he was either going to tap out or pass out.”
Souza met Camozzi, who replaced an injured Constantinos Philippou, at this weekend’s UFC on FX 8 event, which took place at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.
The night’s co-main event had a special feel from the minute Souza’s walk-in music hit the speakers. While the entrance wasn’t broadcast on the evening’s FX-televised main card, Souza danced and sang as he walked in, and much of the crowd took part in a round of his trademarked alligator clap.
“The emotion I felt when I was going into the cage, there are no words to explain it,” Souza said. “I could just tell I was exploding with happiness. So when I walked in, and I heard the crowd, there was a moment when I just started jumping, and I said, ‘Now I cannot let this crowd down. This crowd is fantastic, and I have to do my best.’
“That’s what happened. I did my best, and I got a submission.”
Perhaps surprisingly, while the end did come on the floor, it started on the feet. A right hand wobbled Camozzi, allowing Souza to score the takedown that ultimately led to the finish when his opponent was choked unconscious.
“I started moving very well when I was standing, but when I realized that he didn’t respect my hands, I showed him my calling card,” Souza said. “And when he went down, I just did the groundwork very easily. I knew that sooner or later, something would be there for me, and that’s what happened. I was able to submit him.”
Souza pocketed an extra $50,000 for his work by scoring the “Submission of the Night” bonus. Prior to the evening’s main event, he admitted he’d be happy to face the winner of the middleweight headliner between Vitor Belfort and Luke Rockhold. Belfort, of course, proved victorious, but Souza said he doesn’t necessarily see a fight with “The Phenom” in the cards right now.
“I’m a real professional, and I think that rivalry is just natural,” Souza said. “If I have to fight against him, I’ll fight against him. But I’m still not ready to fight Vitor. Vitor is just ready to go for a title bout, so I hope one day to be ready and be competent. If the UFC thinks I’m ready, I’ll do it. I’ll fight happily with the champion Vitor Belfort. But I just said it because we don’t want to get the loser. We want to get the winner.”
So while he waits for his next assignment, he’ll enjoy the fruits of his first UFC win.
When I had him in the position, I was sure he would tap out because I was really tight. I felt his neck kind of getting slimmer, so I was sure he was going to tap out. I was just like celebrating already. You know that fantastic, perfect move? That’s what I felt. I felt it was a perfect move. So I really practiced a lot – 200, 300 – every day I tried to do it, and when we get the hold, I’m sure we’re going to get it, and that’s what happened.”
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