He wasn’t the main event they wanted – but he turned out to be the main event they needed as Jack Hermansson pulled off a monumental upset over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ on Saturday night at the BT&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
“The Joker” Hermansson pulled out the wild card against Souza early in the first round of their scheduled five-rounder. Landing a four-piece combo in the first minute of the fight that rocked Jacare, Hermansson latched onto a super tight guillotine that looked close to finishing the famed black belt.
Jacare would attempt to twist his way out of the choke but Hermansson held on to what turned into an inverted guillotine.
Jacare would escape and the fight was on, with both competitors displaying solid striking throughout the five rounds while mixing in takedown attempts in an effort to get the fight to the ground. The beginning of the fourth round saw both fighters stand toe-to-toe and slug it out.
The fifth round saw Jacare standing with his hands on his hips as the bell sounded to start the final stanza, which Hermansson tried to take advantage of by pressing across the cage and taking a tiring Jacare down with a body lock.
Jacare was able to find his way back to his feet and come forward while Hermansson used his jab and movement to keep the brazilian at bay. A big overharnd right by Jacare with 45 seconds left hurt Hermansson, as did a straight right 15 seconds later. Hermansson was able to get a final takedown in the last 15 seconds to finish the fight on top.
Originally scheduled to be a main event of Yoel Romero vs Paulo Costa, Costa pullled out for undisclosed reasons and that led to a scheduled Romero vs Jacare rematch. Then Romero fell ill and Costa was offered the fight vs Jacare but declined.
Enter Hermansson, who had just submitted former WSOF two-division champ David Branch three weeks ago and came in having won three straight in the UFC. Hermansson is now 20-4 overall, 7-2 in the UFC.
Souza falls to 26-7 overall and 9-4 in the UFC.
“I just trusted my skills that I built up throughout these years and I didn’t need a full camp, because those skills that I have, they were built up from 10 years of practice, not from a camp,” Hermansson said. “This was pretty much what I expected for this fight. I was expecting to hit him more than he would hit me, but I know that he was going to throw hard and he caught me a couple of times. It was dangerous in there. I know that I am trickier, more intelligent and more versatile than he is, and I think that is what I showed tonight. Now I am expecting another top name. I want to continue climbing up and get to the title. I have 4 first round finishes, I have a win on short notice against one of the top guys in the world and I think that’s enough to put me right there on the top and to be one of the contenders.”