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‘Jacare’ Souza eyes late April return following pneumonia, still targets Yoel Romero fight

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Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Yoel Romero were set to battle at UFC 184 on Feb. 28, but the Brazilian grappler was forced out of the card with pneumonia.

"Jacare", a former Strikeforce middleweight champion with a 4-0 UFC record, will stay away from training for at least two weeks, according to his manager Gilberto Faria.

"It’s too soon to set a date (for his return)," Faria told MMAFighting.com. "‘Jacare’s’ doctor, Dr. Rodrigo Mauro, prescribed him a lot of medication and 15 days completely off training. The idea is to be 100 percent healed so there’s no chance he gets sick again, because we kept training at first and he only got worse.

"I have worked with ‘Jacare’ for eight years, and I’ve never seen him get sick like that, and we never had to cancel a fight before."

Following a fourth-round submission victory over Gegard Mousasi in September, "Jacare" could return to the cage in April.

"I believe the best scenario is the end of April," Faria said. "‘When 'Jacare' is active, he needs eight weeks of training camp and when he is not active, he needs 11 weeks, but it depends on his health."

"Let’s hope they reschedule this fight with Yoel Romero. It’s a great fight for both athletes," he continued. "A win would absolutely put the winner in a title fight. ‘Jacare’ is really focused on Yoel. … Following medical advice and doing a full training camp, ‘Jacare’ will be a monster on fight night."

Souza vs. Romero could determine the next in line for the middleweight title, and "Jacare" is focused on fighting him next.

"I was focused on this fight against Yoel, who is a great fighter," Souza said in a statement. "I believe we will face each other soon."