Souza Defeats Gegard Mousasi in His Quest to Face UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman

Ronaldo Souza is making the case to battle UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman

The 34-year old Brazilian Mixed Martial Artist (MMA) dominated Gegard Mousasi in a non-title bout on Friday night to stake his claim to No. 1 contender status.

Ronaldo Souza

Souza (21-3) submitted Mousasi at 4:30 of the third round via a guillotine choke. The middleweight bout headlined a UFC Fight Night event at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut.

A jiu-jitsu black belt, Souza took Mousasi down repeatedly during the 185-pound contest and more than held his own on the feet. He wore Mousasi down from top position in each of the three rounds, eventually leading to the finish.

Immediately after the victory, Souza pointed out he finished Mousasi inside three rounds, while it took Lyoto Machida, who fought Weidman for the title in July, a full five-round fight to dispose of Mousasi via unanimous decision in February.

“If anyone doubted [I’m ready for the title], they are completely wrong,” Souza said. “Lyoto fought this guy for five rounds. I finished him.”

Seeking the 15th submission win of his career, Souza came close to producing a tap late in the round, but Mousasi held on to see the third.

A tired-looking Mousasi managed to land a few straight punches and a left hook to start the third, but he surrendered a takedown 90 seconds in. A right hand caused a welt to form under Mousasi’s right eye and he fell into the guillotine moments later.

For Souza, the win avenges a first-round knockout loss to Mousasi in September 2008. That fight, which took place in Saitama, Japan, ended when Mousasi knocked him out cold with an upkick from his back.

It also improves Souza’s UFC record to 4-0, with three finishes. Weidman (12-0) is scheduled to defend his title for a second time against Vitor Belfort at UFC 181 on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas.

Despite the impressive victory, Souza is at least one fight away from a title shot, according to comments made during the postfight news conference by UFC president Dana White.

Barthelemy to Defend Boxing Title Against Fernando Saucedo

Rances Barthelemy is ready to defend his title…

The 28-year-old Cuban boxer, the current IBF Super Featherweight champion, will face-off against Fernando Saucedo on October 4, according to

Rances Barthelemy

Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules says the fight is signed and will likely air on Showtime from a site to be determined. Margules says there’s a strong chance that it will take place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

“I think Barthelemy is the best 130-pound fighter in the world and Saucedo is a good boxer, strong and very durable, so he should be a good test for my guy,” Margules said. “Saucedo earned his ranking and it’s a good test for Barthelemy in his first title defense.”

Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs), a Cuban defector living in Miami, won his title via unanimous decision from Argenis Mendez on July 10 in Miami. It was a rematch of the two-round no decision they fought in January, when Barthelemy knocked Mendez out in the second round but the result was eventually changed to a no decision and the title returned to Mendez after his camp protested the outcome because video replays showed that the knockout blow was clearly delivered after the bell had rung to end the round, which was an unintentional foul.

Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs), of Argentina, is riding a 14-fight winning streak since losing his only other world title fight, a lopsided decision to then-featherweight titlist Chris John in 2010 in John’s native Indonesia. The other name fighter on Saucedo’s resume is former two-division titleholder Acelino “Popo” Freitas, who dropped and outpointed Saucedo in a 10-rounder in 2004. Saucedo has never been knocked out in any of his five defeats.

“Saucedo is the most talented, available fighter willing to fight Barthelemy that is in the top 15 of the IBF rankings,” Margules said. “And he is also the highest available guy, No. 3, so we are fighting him. And top 15 and he was the highest available guy, No. 3.”

Margules said another factor in making the fight is that Saucedo is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, with whom Margules is close.

“We do a fare amount of business together and he is a friend,” Margules said.