UFC 249: Jacare vs. Hall – Betting Preview

By Michael O’Shea

Folks! We are back (fingers crossed) for some UFC action this weekend coming as the UFC is set to be the first sports organization to return with UFC 249. And it’s looking to be an absolute belter of a card..

I’m going to take a different approach this week to my usual betting piece and give you a detailed breakdown of the fights that I am keen on. As always, everything you read here is my own opinion and please let me know me know if you disagree; I’m keen to argue MMA anytime.

First up, let’s look at Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (26-8) v Uriah Hall (15-9).

My first impression of this fight was that Jacare will withstand whatever Hall can throw at him on the feet, eventually get him down and either out point him or submit him.

But before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at both men.

Jacare is a wrestler come grappler with a very dangerous ground game. He is a 4th degree BJJ black belt with over 8 world championships in BJJ to his name. To say his BJJ is elite is an understatement. The “Alligator” has had a stellar career beating the likes of Robbie Lawler, Chris Camozzi, Gegard Mousasi and Vitor Belfort.

Souza has been on a rocky run recently as fights with elite level opposition has resulted in losses to Romero, Whittaker, Gastelum, Hermansson and Blachowicz. Hall is a relative step down in competition from what Jacare has been facing of late. The Blachowicz performance especially was, while sluggish at times, an improved one. He won the first and second rounds and arguably could have been given the third too which would have got him the decision.

Uriah Hall is primarily a striker with power and feet as quick as his hands.

Hall first came to our attention in TUF when a spinning hook knock out announced him onto the scene in spectacular fashion. Two quick knock outs on the show earned Hall a fight in the final of TUF, which he lost in a split decision to Kelvin Gastelum. Most recently, Hall has won 3 out of his last 4 with his only loss to surging title contender Paulo Costa. In his last fight, he had a good win over Antonio Carlos Junior, winning the first two rounds and surviving a BJJ onslaught in Round 3.

Looking at the fight, I think this could play out the way the Jacare/Blachowicz fight panned out with both men circling and with Jacare very mindful of Uriah’s power and Hall wary of the takedowns.

Hall likes to take a backward step and let his opponents lead while hoping for a counter but I think this plays into Souza’s hands as he can throw some bombs and avoid being clipped. I think he can and will control the grappling and can take this fight to the floor. Souza has the size and the power to dominate the clinch and take this fight to where ever he wants it to go.

An eye needs to be kept on Souza during fight week to see how his cut back down to 185-pounds is going, but he’s fought most of his career at Middleweight so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Either way, come fight night he’s going to be bigger than Hall inside the Octagon. Hall needs to come out firing the jab and attacking Souza but I think he will be comfortable letting Souza lead and as a result either get clipped or get taken down to the mat and grinded out.

The odds here are very generous. Jacare is 40-years old coming back down to  Middleweight and in my opinion, people are looking at the Blachowicz loss as a reason to say he is done. My argument to this is yes he is 40, but Hall is only five years his junior and with three TKO losses in his last seven. Fighting at 185 shouldn’t be a problem for Souza and he lost the Blachowicz fight via Split Decision. He easily could have got that decision. Also, he withstood the power shots of Blachowicz, Gastelum and Hermansson most recently, so I’m not buying into Hall’s power being a big problem for him.

For me, Souza can win this fight by TKO if they get in a dog fight, by submission when he over powers Hall in the clinch or grappling and taking Hall down and getting three or four minutes to work or via decision, by a slow grind of fence control or ground control similar to how Carlos Antonio Junior won the third round against Hall. If this fight goes to the third round, don’t expect it to be pretty as both are known to lose a little gas in the latter stages but if Jacare can clinch — I think he wins the cardio battle.

Selection: Jacare Souza ML @ -121 or $1.83 or 4/5


Sports journalist based in CA, USA. Twitter: @ArionArmeniakos

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