Yoel Romero Injures Knee, Pulls Out of Jacare Souza Bout
The middleweight fight between Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza is off once again.
Lightning Strikes Twice
The 37-year old Cuban Olympic Silver medalist (2000 Olympics) in freestyle wrestling, pulled out from his scheduled April 18th bout against Brazilian Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza because of a knee injury. UFC officials announced Romero’s withdrawal last Saturday after it was confirmed that the “Soldier of God” suffered a torn knee ligament during training.
Romero and Souza were set to square off in the co-main event of UFC on Fox 15 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey which will be headlined by another middleweight battle between Luke Rockhold and Lyoto Machida. This is the second time that the fight between Romero and Souza was called off. The two were initially tabbed to fight each other at UFC 184 but Souza got out of the fight after suffering a case of pneumonia earlier this year.
Replacing Romero will be Chris Camozzi, whom the UFC released last September of 2014 after losing four consecutive bouts. Camozzi went on to fight in the lesser known Prize FC promotion and became its middleweight title in November of 2014 and successfully defended his belt last month.
Camozzi’s return to the UFC also marks the second time he will be filling in for Jacare Souza’s opponent. He replaced an injured Costas Philippou at UFC on Fox 8 in May of 2013 and was submitted by Souza via arm-triangle choke less than four minutes into the fight.
The Count is Out
Prior to the announcement of Camozzi as replacement, Souza’s team wanted a top ranked opponent to fill in Romero’s slot. At age 35, Jacare isn’t getting any younger and his manager Gilberto Faria doesn’t want to delay his ward’s title shot. Faria asked for Michael Bisping, the 9th ranked middleweight in the UFC.
However, Bisping is booked to fight C.B. Dollaway in the UFC 186 fight card in Montreal, Canada. That fight is two weeks away and one week after the Souza bout. Bisping’s manager Audie Altar said on Saturday that while Bisping backs down from nobody, he had trained to fight C.B. Dollaway and fighting Souza on short notice “didn’t make sense”. But Altar countered that “The Count” would “love to fight” Souza next.
But that “next” could be a title shot if Souza wins impressively against Camozzi. He’s won his first four appearances in the UFC, with three being by stoppage. Jacare has won 11 of his last 12 bouts overall, with his lone loss coming at the hands of Luke Rockhold during a Strikeforce middleweight title fight. Souza won and defended the Strikeforce middleweight belt, eventually losing to Rockhold by unanimous decision at Stikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov in September 10, 2011.
Against Camozzi, the 21-3 ( with 2 KOs and 15 submissions) Jacare Souza will be facing a veteran fighter whose UFC record is a mediocre 6-6. Overall, Chris Camozzi is 21-9 with 6 knockouts and 7 submissions.
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