UFC 249 Betting Pick: Ronaldo Jacare Souza vs Uriah Hall

Man, I hope this UFC doesn’t get pushed back other several weeks like we experienced last month in April.

Dana White said it was happening and it’s not often he is forced to go back on his word. I love the guy for trying and it appears he may have succeeded.

It all began with the WWE employees being declared essential personnel by the state of Florida. I know, right…

I feel bad for the folks missing out on paycheck after paycheck going into debt but pro wrestling of all endeavors is deemed to be essential.

I don’t write the rules, guys, and I think we are all familiar with the ridiculousness of that state. If you have some free time later, just google the words “Florida man” and then add your birth date. Good times.

I did this a little over a year ago and got results so hilarious that I forgot the details.

Just now, I learned that in 2019 a former Florida State student in Stuart just north of West Palm Beach entered the home of an elderly couple and began biting both of them in the face.

He bit them until they both died. He didn’t stop biting even when tased, punched, and kicked in the head by officers. The former frat boy believed he was in his words “Half-man half-dog”. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Insanity defense on the way!

My feelings for the state of Florida essentially come to this:

On May 9th, 2020, UFC 249 is going down in Jacksonville!

Then again just four days later on May 13th and again a few days later on the 16th! Bravo!

Where do we start with the fights? There are so many good ones after the promotion had to cancel events from mid-March through the end of April.

Some fights were already signed and others, like Vicente Luque vs Niko Price were made on the fly as several fighters decided against or simply couldn’t participate in the event due to COVID restrictions.

Uriah Hall vs Ronaldo Jacare Souza is a very interesting matchup. I think the betting line is off, though, significantly. The sportsbooks have this as a pick’em but I don’t know.

Jacare is 40 years old but he has been in there with long powerful strikers before and he SMOTHERS their fire.

Let’s look at the round total and a few other betting lines for this matchup and make our predictions.

Ronaldo Souza (-125) vs Uriah Hall (+105)

OVER 2.5 ROUNDS
-115
UNDER 2.5 ROUNDS
-115

Let’s not make this one more complicated than it already is.

Jacare is primarily a grappler and Uriah Hall is primarily a striker. If this fight is mostly contested at a distance, I believe Uriah Hall will do enough to get the victory.

He could hurt Jacare and follow up for a finish or simply out jab and leg kick the plodding Souza.

Conversely, the 4th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has no qualms against holding an opponent up against the cage for 5 minutes if the referee lets him.

If he gets the takedown and has a couple of minutes to work, I can see him locking up a kimura and forcing the Karateka to tap out. So, the oddsmakers were right? We should just flip a coin? No!

If we forget history, we are doomed to repeat it.

That being said:

Though, people age and the 40 mark is usually a reminder that it’s about that time to hang up your gloves and retire from competition. Look what happened to Anderson Silva and he is the greatest MMA fighter of all-time.

The difference between Jacare-the alligator and the Silva-the spider is the latter relied on his reflexes as much as anything else in a fight. They tend to go around 38 and it’s a significant drop off from there.

Souza has never been the type to pull or slip to counter. He might try to counter your jab with an overhand right but it is relatively a low risk/high reward technique. Strength, power, technique, and slow-twitch muscle fibers carry over past the age of 40.

I know you’ve heard of old man strength and if you train BJJ, you have definitely felt it. Souza had that strength for nearly two decades now.

The Judo black belt didn’t begin his grappling training until he was 17 living in the jungle city of Manaus. At age 24 with only 7 years of training, Jacare Souza won his first of EIGHT BJJ world championships.

Jacare would also go on to win his weight class on two different occasions at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club, which is the #1 no-gi grappling tournament in the world.

By this point, mixed martial arts was gaining popularity by the day, and Jacare decided: Hey, why not choke people AND punch them?

Well, Souza had his first fight in his hometown and was starched cold in the first round… Most sensible individuals would have thrown those gloves away and went back to dominating the grappling circuit.

He went on to win his next 10 fights, 9 of which by stoppage. It was then that he would be faced the biggest challenge of his MMA career by far when he fought Gegard Mousasi. Souza would secure top position against the Dutch superstar but was KO’d by an upkick.

It was then off to America to fight for Strikeforce. He beat Tim Kennedy for the world title and lost it to Luke Rockhold before heading to the UFC. He won his first five fights inside the Octagon including a revenge submission win against Mousasi by guillotine.

He has since lost 5 of 9 fights albeit nearly all against stellar competition and 3 of those were split decisions plus a stoppage loss to then world champion Robert Whitaker.

In his last fight, Jacare went up to 205 pounds. He is already a pretty darn big middleweight and I am concerned about his ability to get back down to 185.

He is a professional and likely will make the weight but how much will it affect his chin and cardio?

Uriah Hall burst onto the scene in the UFC with a knockout that completely silenced an entire room of rowdy fighters along with UFC President Dana White.

One would think that he would go on to win that season of The Ultimate Fighter but it was the last guy picked, Kelvin Gastelum, who edged out a split decision when he took on Hall in the finals.

Uriah then lost his very next fight by split decision to an underrated John Howard. 3 more wins then another split decision loss!

The biggest win of Hall’s career by far was when he hit Gegard Mousasi with a JUMP spinning back kick to the FACE. So sick.

Following that fight, though, Hall dropped 3 in a row anchored by Mousasi’s revenge takedown and ground n’ pound win. So both Souza and Hall have split their fights with Mousasi.

Since then, though, the Jamaican-born Hall has won 3 of 4 with his only loss to the undefeated future title challenger Brazilian MONSTER Paulo Costa. Hall hit him with some good shots but so did Yoel Romero but the tank just kept coming.

Uriah Hall has a bad habit of backing up against the cage quite casually and waiting…and waiting…and waiting for his opportunity to counter.

You can counter off of the cage but if your opponent wants to overwhelm you with volume, there isn’t much you can do other than circle or shoot and we know the BJJ blue belt isn’t going to try and take down the 8-time BJJ World Champ.

Please Note:

If this fight were happening say two years ago, I would cap Souza at (-280). He is the stronger grappler and would simply bully Hall like other superior grapplers have done in the past.

Uriah catalyzes that process too when he backs himself up. Another highlight-reel kicker, Anthony Pettis, does the same thing and it rarely ever works out for him.

Uriah will have a massive 8-inch reach advantage and while I think that will be enough to establish the jab, Hall has simply never proven that he can continually circle or push forward.

Unless he catches Jacare cold with some heavy firepower early, Uriah will find himself against the fence precisely where Souza wants him.

The weight cut worries me, though. Sure, the Brazilian has fought almost every fight at 185 pounds but went up to 205 in his recent split decision loss to the streaking Pole Jan Blachowicz.

Then, to go back down to 20 pounds to Middleweight at 40 years old against someone as twitchy as Hall… That is really my only hesitation. I’m not worried about the reach. Souza dealt with the reach of Blachowicz just fine which is similar to Hall’s.

Plus, Hall is used to having the advantage but he nulls it by putting himself against the cage.

Jacare will close the distance within the first round and if he can’t get Uriah down, he will wall n stall Hall ’til the ref separates them.

I just don’t know how this one will play out. I think it will be a decision win but Hall could very well be submitted by a world-class grappler even though it’s never happened in MMA competition.

We are getting nearly even odds here and even though Jacare is 40, hittable, and cutting a lot of weight, he sticks to the game plan as well as anyone.

My Picks
RONALDO SOUZA

In Conclusion

This is a very intriguing fight but I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think it will be very exciting.

Uriah Hall is going to need space to utilize and capitalize on his tremendous reach advantage. Souza is a master of smothering strikers, though.

Couple that with Hall’s propensity to put himself in bad positions inside the Octagon, mainly with his back against the cage, and we have a recipe for the Brazilian to get his first and possibly only win in his 40s.

Uriah Hall is the fighter with more to prove in this one. He still presents one of the worst matchups in the division for the Middleweight Champ, Israel Adesanya.

I think The Last Stylebender’s striking is more polished but this fight would sell a lot of tickets as the casual fans love striking and this one would be guaranteed to take place on the feet.

There are a couple of factors that do worry me about Souza but the same can be said of Hall and it is the latter who has demonstrated his negative tendencies time and time again.

We will be back with more fight picks in the coming days. Bet first, bet fast, bet hard, and bet last!

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.