With losses in three of his last four fights, Ronaldo Souza will attempt to right the ship when he faces Kevin Holland at UFC 256 on Dec. 12.
Competing as a non-ranked middleweight for the first time — according to UFC.com rankings — Souza was supposed to return to 185 pounds against Uriah Hall at UFC 249 in May, but “Jacare” tested positive for COVID-19 and the bout was canceled.
Then, the 40-year-old Brazilian was scheduled to face Marvin Vettori at UFC 256, while Holland was slated to meet Jack Hermansson at UFC on ESPN 19 on Saturday. But once Holland tested positive for COVID-19, the UFC rebooked Holland against “Jacare” on Dec. 12 and brought in Vettori to face Hermansson.
“Actually I offered myself to take revenge against Hermansson, but unfortunately he didn’t accept,” said Souza, who lost a five-round verdict against “The Joker” at UFC Fight Night 150 on April 27.
As a result of the new opponent, the multiple-time world jiu-jitsu champion had to adjust his game plan accordingly.
“I did all my camp based on a southpaw about my height, [but] now I’ll face a much taller, orthodox fighter. But it is what it is,” he said. “I just want to fight and get back in the win column.”
In addition to friend and former UFC champ Lyoto Machida, Souza prepared for his upcoming bout with a variety of talented sparring partners.
“I totally got out of my comfort zone in this camp bringing really tough guys to beat me and wake me up,” Souza said. “Thanks to guys like Joshua Marsh (wrestling), Adrian Jaoude (wrestling coach), Josuel Distak (head coach), Renan Ferreira and Lyoto Machida, I’m feeling in great shape.
“I have a lot of respect for Holland, who is a real tough kid, but I’m going to beat this guy.”
Holland is 12 years younger than “Jacare” and is going after his fifth victory of 2020. Thus far, the American has bested Anthony Hernandez, Joaquin Buckley, Darren Stewart and Charlie Ontiveros this year.