Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza file photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Five-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will lock horns with Tim Kennedy for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight crown at Strikeforce “Houston” on Aug. 21 at the Toyota Center in Houston. The promotion on Friday made the matchup official, putting to bed talk of a middleweight tournament for the belt.
Jacare will ride a two-fight winning streak into the match. One of the sport’s most decorated ground fighters, the 30-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has secured 10 of his 12 career wins by submission. Victories against Jason “Mayhem” Miller and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland highlight his resume. A finalist in the 2008 Dream middleweight grand prix, Souza has lost only once -- to former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi -- in the past seven years.
A United States Army Special Forces sniper, Kennedy has rattled off four consecutive victories. Based in Fort Bragg, N.C., the 30-year-old submitted Trevor Prangley with a first-round rear-naked choke at Strikeforce “Los Angeles” in June. Kennedy owns other notable wins against UFC veteran Dante Rivera, former International Fight League middleweight champion Ryan McGivern and one-time Bodog Fight welterweight titleholder Nick Thompson. He has never been submitted.
A light heavyweight title bout between unbeaten champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante will headline Strikeforce “Houston,” which will air live on Showtime. In addition, one-time EliteXC lightweight titleholder K.J. Noons will square off Jorge Gurgel, and former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Bobby Lashley will return to the cage for the first time since January. No opponent for Lashley has been named.