Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was hoping to get a title shot after earning a win over talented contender Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 224 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but instead, he ended up losing via split decision.
Jacare put on a great performance in the opening round. He controlled Gastelum with an armbar when the round expired. With the second stanza, Jacare seems tired, Gastelum dropped him with a heavy hand, but Jacare recovers back. Gastelum continues punches and enforcing his game plan. In the third round, both fighter landing big shots but in conclusion Gastelum likely sealed the deal.
At the UFC 224 post-fight press conference, Jacare solely blames himself that he was not able to cut weight effectively, that impacted his performance at UFC 224.
“Nobody likes to lose,” Souza said through a translator (via MMA Fighting). “I’m at home, I’m here in Brazil. The whole crowd was behind me. I’m very, very sad to lose. It’s disappointing to me to lose here at home in the way that I lost. I should’ve done better. I should’ve cut weight better. I felt my legs and that made it very complicated.”
“It was my fault I lost, it happens. Kelvin had a good game plan, he was doing well in the fight, we had a great fight, but I lost. And I want everyone to know that I did everything I could to win. I really wanted to win this fight.”
Jacare insists that he always have right weight cut, but for this contest, there were some limitations and went on to explain that his hotel for the fight didn’t have a sauna. So “Jacare” tried to compensate by jumping rope to help lose the weight, implies that factor attributes to his loss.
“I’m very healthy. I always cut weight pretty well, but this time I jumped rope a bit too much because there was no sauna in the hotel,” he explained. “So I jumped too much rope and that’s why I think I felt my legs because of that, but that was it.”
“There are things that happen. We had a great fight and that’s what matters.”
Jacare undeterred by his recent performance and set his sights on capturing the middleweight belt. He also plans to consult with his coaches to ensure that he is well prepared for his next fight.
“About my future, I’m in the middleweight division, I’m gonna wait for the next fight, and I’m gonna do everything I can to win,” Souza said. “I’m going to see with my trainers what happened, what happened wrong, because I felt my legs a lot and I think that’s what complicated the fight.”
Jacare now dropped to a professional record of 25-6.