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No Need to Hide Game Plan for Strikeforce Champ Jacare Souza

Ask most fighters about their plans or strategies for an upcoming fight and you'll usually get a vague response or no response at all, but don't count Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza among that group.

When Souza was asked this week about his planned method of attack against upcoming challenger Robbie Lawler, he had no qualms about tipping his hand.

"The plan is to use my jiu-jitsu to bring to the fight," he said through an interpreter. "I don't know how or when I'll bring it to the game but I'm well-prepared, my cardio's up and I'm ready to go there and show that I'm 100 percent ready to go in and fight. But the plan is when I see the right time, bring jiu-jitsu to the table and use it."

Of course, that shouldn't come as too big a surprise to Lawler or anyone else who is going to step into the cage with Souza, who is considered by many to be one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world, and has 10 career wins via tapout.

Souza (13-2, 1 no contest) has won several major jiu-jitsu and submission grappling championships, including the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club championship in 2005.

As a result, for a time, he was thought to be a one-dimensional fighter reliant on his slick jiu-jitsu, but over the last few years, improvements in striking and wrestling (he calls his takedowns "Jacare takedowns") have added new dimensions to his game, making him a matchup nightmare for many opponents.

His upcoming foe Lawler represents the best pure striker he's faced since suffering his last loss, against Gegard Mousasi, and on a rare upkick knockout, no less.

Since that time, perhaps the biggest improvements have come with his striking. In recent wins over Tim Kennedy and Joey Villasenor, he's more than held his own in the standup. It's an element that will no doubt be tested even further against Lawler, a powerful southpaw who's made a living with his thunderous left hand, and boasts 17 of his 20 career wins by knockout.

"I have a great team behind me," said Souza, whose fight will serve as the co-main event of Saturday's Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg. "We take it very serious. I train a lot my cardio, my explosiveness. I've been training a lot of boxing, how to walk around the cage and the ring. I know he's a good boxer but I'm prepared to go there and fight. So pretty much I'm doing everything necessary to go there and hopefully end the fight before the fifth round."

In Lawler's last fight, he knocked Matt Lindland unconscious in just 50 seconds. In the past though, Lawler (20-6, 1 no contest) has been vulnerable in the ground game. He's been tapped out by Jake Shields, Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Evan Tanner, and the general consensus is that Souza's jiu-jitsu is a level above those men.

Souza admits that Lawler ranks among the toughest opponents he's faced, but with his well-rounded game and improved conditioning, he's confident of victory.

"Every fight is a challenge for me," he said. "He's a very tough guy. I know it's going to be a good battle, but I'm getting ready to fight. I'm just looking one fight at a time. I'll be ready to go there and show what I'm going to have and come out as a champion."

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