Strikeforce: Ronaldo Souza vs. Matt Lindland Prediction

185 lbs: Matt “The Law” Lindland vs. Ronald “Jacare” Souza

Odds: (+205 Lindland /-265 Jacare )

In a very compelling Middleweight matchup, two ground experts of very different sorts will go head to head as Jiu-Jitsu phenom Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza makes his Strikeforce debut against dominant wrestler and Olympic silver medalist Matt “The Law” Lindland.  Lindland is a dominant wrestler, but taking down Souza might well prove disastrous.  On the other hand, Souza is clearly best on the ground, but how will he go about taking down a wrestler of Matt Lindland’s caliber?

Matt Lindland is, beyond any doubt, the most decorated wrestler currently competing in MMA.  An Olympic medalist, Lindland has proven over the years that he is more than capable of translating his amateur wrestling skills into Mixed Martial Arts competition.  While his standup is still very rudimentary, his takedowns and top control are second to none, and he actually has a very underrated submission game and very good submission defense, having been submitted only twice in his career, once in 2002 and once by Heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko in a blatant mismatch.  That is going to be very important against Souza, who has a submission game that is unrivaled by anyone in the world.

Souza, known by his nickname “Jacare”, is an absolute machine on the ground.  He made the transition from competition Jiu-Jitsu to MMA almost seamlessly, and while he is still not a good striker at all he lost none of his effectiveness on the mat.  In his 10 professional wins, he has won by submission 9 times, only failing to finish prolific grappler Jason “Mayhem” Miller.

Stylisticially, this is a very interesting matchup.  Traditionally, Lindland’s wins have come through takedowns and controlling fights on the ground, but taking down Souza might end with him tapping out.  Similarly, Souza has to fight on the ground to win, but is unlikely to be able to get Lindland down through traditional means.  I think Lindland will frustrate Souza for a lot of this fight, hitting him with punches and doing everything in his power to keep this fight standing for once.  Souza is just too skilled, though, and will find a way to clinch, pull guard, and armbar Lindland from his back.

Fight Prediction: Jacare via second round armbar.