Dangerous middleweight veteran Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (26-8, 8 KOs, 14 SUBs) will meet the rising Kevin Holland (20-5, 10 KOs, 6 SUBs) at UFC 256: Figueiredo vs. Moreno on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card airs live on pay-per-view starting 10pm ET. In the main event, UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1, 9 KOs, 8 SUBs) will make his second title defense against Mexico’s Brandon Moreno (18-5, 3 KOs, 10 SUBs). Let’s take a look at the UFC betting odds for Souza vs. Holland and get to your best online betting picks.
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Ronaldo Souza (26-8, 8 KOs, 14 SUBs)
Surprised that Jacare isn’t ranked in the top 15? We are, despite his 2-4 slide. Here’s who he’s lost to in that time: Bobby Knuckles, Kelvin Gastelum (split decision), Jack Hermansson and Jan Blachowicz (split decision). In other words, Jacare just went five rounds and barely lost to the current light heavyweight champion, and every other dude is a top 10 middleweight. Kinda harsh to boot the Brazilian out of the rankings, even if he’s been losing more than he’s winning. Just for reference, Uriah Hall is ranked No. 9 in the division. This is probably a good time to remind you that the UFC assigns the rankings and not the press.
Still, we can’t argue that Souza is clearly declining - he is 40 years old after all. What’s really noticeable is how slow he is. Jacare was never a fast guy to begin with, but these days we’d say he’s pretty darn close to lumbering. The good news for him is that he still packs a ton of power, even though his lack of volume always puts him at risk at falling behind on points. Of course we can’t forget the world-class jiu-jitsu skills - he is one of the most decorated grapplers to step foot inside the octagon and he can easily roll skillful grapplers into human pretzels. The question is how much his physical decline is taking away from his overall game.
Kevin Holland (20-5, 10 KOs, 6 SUBs)
What a huge opportunity for the unranked 28-year old: Holland would get a ton of recognition with a win over Jacare. That’s not to say it’s completely undeserved, as he’s compiled a 7-2 record inside the octagon, beating folks like Gerald Meerschaert, Allessio Di Chirico, Anthony Hernandez and Darren Stewart. Nothing special, but certainly not scrubs. What we should take note of is that Holland is starting to find his finishing ability, winning three of his last four by TKO. Most recently, Holland scored a rare sub-to-slam TKO over Charlie Ontiveros. That was his fourth fight of 2020, and he’s been a late notice specialist fighting in three consecutive months in August, September and October.
There’s a reason he’s been busy: the brass fully recognizes how entertaining Holland is. Instead of imposing a style, the Phalanx MMA product seems perfectly fine going wherever the fight leads. Sometimes, that results in moments like his flying omaplata attempt against Thiago Santos - which truly has to be seen to be appreciated. He’s got so much natural and physical talent that it’s hard not to root for the guy, but Holland will have to refine his approach if he wants to consistently beat top tier folks like Hermansson.
Significant Striking Stats
Strikes landed per minute: Holland 4.11 / Souza 2.85
Striking accuracy: Holland 63% / Souza 52%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Holland 3.45 / Souza 5.08
Striking defense: Holland 59% / Souza 62%
Takedowns per 15 minutes: Holland 2.04 / Souza 1.28
Takedown accuracy: Holland 66% / Souza 25%
Takedown defense: Holland 50% / Souza 60%
Submissions per 15 minutes: Holland 1.7 / Souza 0.79
The problem with Jacare is that he just can’t hang with springy young fighters anymore. Holland is active both on the feet and the ground, so it’s likely that he’ll come out ahead on points. There is the risk that Souza scores the finish, but Holland is athletic enough to stay out of trouble. His line isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s definitely playable as a single bet.
UFC 256: Figueiredo vs. Moreno Card & Odds
Flyweight Championship - Brandon Moreno +270 vs. Deiveson Figueiredo -342
Lightweight - Charles Oliveira +139 vs. Tony Ferguson -168
Heavyweight - Junior Dos Santos +348 vs. Ciryl Gane -458
Lightweight - Renato Moicano +138 vs. Rafael Fiziev -166
Women's Strawweight - Virna Jandiroba +162 vs. Mackenzie Dern -196
Featherweight - Cub Swanson +134 vs. Daniel Pineda -162
Heavyweight - Jared Vanderaa +188 vs. Sergey Spivak -230
Featherweight - Peter Barret +303 vs. Chase Hooper -390
Featherweight - Gavin Tucker +134 vs. Billy Quarantillo -162
Middleweight - Ronaldo Souza -107 vs. Kevin Holland -117
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