Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweights David Branch and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza are set to collide at UFC 230 in New York City this November after some back-and-forth between the two camps.
Branch (22-4) had called out the submission specialist after knocking out Thiago Santos in the first round in April, but Souza’s manager told MMA Fighting last month that the Brazilian was initially more interested in a higher-ranked opponent despite agreeing to fight him twice:
“Dave Branch was offered to us twice in 18 months, and Jacare agreed both times, but he jumped ship,” Souza’s manager Gilberto Faria said in June. “Jacare wants to fight someone ranked higher in the middleweight division, like rematches with Yoel Romero or Kelvin Gastelum, or a fight with Chris Weidman.
“It doesn’t make sense to fight Dave Branch now. Jacare is not in a hurry, he will sit down like everyone else does and wait for a bigger fight. ‘Jacare’ has always fought opponents ranked lower than him, and it’s time to face someone ahead of him.”
Branch was relentless in his pursuit of a fight against Jacare, even going so far as to say he would “go to the friggin’ moon” to fight him.
Apparently, the former Strikeforce champion had a change of heart, and ultimately accepted the fight with Branch in the Brooklyn native’s own backyard of New York City.
Jacare (25-6 1 NC) is coming off of a narrow split decision loss to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 224 back in May and will be looking to rebound against the former World Series of Fighting middleweight and light heavyweight champion.
UFC 230 takes place at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3.