In the second fight of the Showtime portion of Strikeforce: Tate vs Rousey, Ronaldo Souza (14-3, 4-1 Strikeforce) meets Bristol Marunde (12-6, 0-0 Strikeforce). Originally Souza was scheduled to face Derek Brunson, but Brunson was unable to pass his pre-fight medicals. Brunson requires corrective (contact) lenses in order to fight. Stepping up on short notice is IFL veteran and Reign Promotions owner, Bristol Marunde.
Jacare has long been considered on of the top middleweights in the world outside of the UFC. A world-class grappler, Souza has made the proper adjustments recently to add explosive striking to his overall game. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion defended his belt once in a submission victory over Robbie Lawler before dropping the strap to Luke Rockhold at Strikeforce: Barnett vs Kharitonov. As one of the top grapplers in the world, Jacare possesses the type of skills to create problems for any of his opponents whenever the fight hits the mat.
If there is one knock against Jacare it's that in MMA he often looks to maintain position instead of looking to finish. Against Robbie Lawler it was incredibly frustrating watching Jacare struggle to put Lawler away on the ground. As one of the top grapplers in the world, there is an expectation (unfair or not) that once the fight is on the mat, there will be submission finishes. It may be a case that Jacare has fallen in love with his striking and isn't training as a grappler as often as he was before, but it's something to note whenever Jacare fights.
His opponent Bristol Marunde is relatively unknown to event the most hardcore of fans. An IFL veteran, Marunde didn't set the MMA world on fire, going 1-3 in the promotion. Since his return to the regional scene, Marunde has recorded a 9-1 record with his latest win over Jay Silva at SCC 3 in November. Marunde may be best known for his exploits outside of the cage when he used his MMA training to apprehend a wanted rapist who was hiding in his neighbor's house.
Bristol is a fairly well rounded fighter training out of the Throwdown Training Center in Las Vegas. He doesn't really do anything great but he does everything well enough to remain competitive. If he has a clear advantage it may be in wrestling but taking the fight to the ground would be a huge mistake.
If we're being honest with ourselves, Jacare is the clear favorite in the fight. There's a different between fighting Jay Silva and fighting Jacare Souza and we'll see that tonight. Expect Jacare to outwork Marunde on the feet before getting the fight to the ground and setting up a submission finish. While Marunde will have a puncher's chance, the odds say that Jacare wins this fight without much trouble. Jacare should win the fight by submission sometime in the second round after putting on a grappling clinic.