Jacare Says He Got “Much Better” Than Derek Brunson During Layoff

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Jacare Souza once again knocked out Derek Brunson in the first round on Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina.

While it took longer than the 41 seconds it took him to knock Brunson out back in 2012, Jacare still put it to him and scored a first-round TKO.

Jacare did give Brunson props for improving so much since their first scrap under the Strikeforce banner, but stopped short of excessive praise by adding he himself had gotten ‘much better’ (via MMA Junkie):

“He was very smart and sharp, as well, but I had my guard up and was able to block most of the attacks, all of the attacks. I was very well prepared for the fight. He got better, but I got way better than him. Much better than him.”

“(This is the) way to the belt. I’m coming from a big victory against a good opponent and if there’s nothing else in my way, then get to the belt.”

The Brazilian submission ace has been sidelined with injuries following a TKO loss to Robert Whittaker last year. Although it had been nearly a year since that disappointing defeat, Jacare came through in a huge way in beating Brunson again.

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Brunson was even the betting favorite this time around, which shows you the massive improvements he’s made since their first fight, and the disappointing layoff, which Souza described, may have played a factor into it.

The longtime top contender spoke up about the ailments he had to deal with following his loss to Whittaker:

“Nine months without a fight, then I have the surgery and six months without training,” Souza said. “Then I have the second surgery for appendicitis and then I stayed in the hospital 10 days. Then after that I had to carry a bag to my belly to hold the liquids. Everything went to my mind.”

Who should Jacare fight next? Perhaps Kelvin Gastelum, Chris Weidman, of the winner of Rockhold vs. Romero?