Strikeforce has stepped up to establish a top contender for middleweight champion Luke Rockhold by booking a fight between former title-holder Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and hard-hitting, unbeaten grappler Derek Brunson for the company’s March 3 visit to Columbus, Ohio.
While not confirmed through an official announcement, Brunson revealed the deal was in place on Twitter.
Brunson has racked up nine consecutive wins in his eighteen months as a professional fighter including three under the Strikeforce banner. He was last seen outpointing Nate James in November at Strikeforce Challengers 20 to cap off a 4-0 year. However, Souza will easily represent the best opponent he’s faced to date and will be a major step up in competition compared to Brunson’s relatively unknown adversaries to date.
“Jacare”, seen as one of the elite BJJers in MMA, is coming off his championship loss to Rockhold where he was outpointed in a competitive five-rounder last September. The 32-year old Brazilian holds an overall record of 14-3 with three submissions and past success against Matt Lindland, Robbie Lawler, Tim Kennedy, and Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Tate is headlined by bantamweight queen Miesha Tate defending her belt against undefeated judoka Ronda Rousey and also features fights such as K.J. Noons vs. Josh Thomson and Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE