UFC 224: Nunes vs. Pennington took place May 12 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Middleweight contenders Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (25-6, 1 NC) and Kelvin Gastelum (15-3, 1 NC) collided in the night’s co-main event, which aired live on pay-per-view. Catch the video highlights below.
For more on Gastelum vs. Souza, check out the play-by-play courtesy of MMA Fighting’s Chuck Mindenhall.
Round 1: Co-main event time, and a good one. Third man in the octagon is Leon Roberts. Souza touches gloves with the young fellow, and we’re off. Right away Jacare shoots for a double-leg and Gastelum sprawls to prevent. Gastelum muscles Jacare to the fence, and they toil there. Souza looking for a trip along there, and so far he’s trying to move a hydrant; Gastelum isn’t budging. Now they waltz a few steps over, still locked at the torso. Gastelum absorbs some knees in the clinch, and now Souza lifts one of Gastelum’s legs up and they tumble down. Souza pulls guard, and then immediately sweeps — that’s one way to get things done. Now he’s in side control as Rio chants in approval. Gastelum doesn’t want to be in this position, and right now he’s staying calm. Jacare now steps over into mount, and Gastelum tries to scramble out. He can’t, but he does recover into half guard. Now right back into mount. Souza postures up and tries to rain down some punches, landing the left to the temple. Gastelum just trying to hang on here. He’s not panicked, but he’s in a bad spot. Jacare lands two big elbows, and now steps over and goes for an armbar. He rolls, and he is now trying to pry Gastelum’s arm away. Hammerfists to Gastelum’s head from Jacare, who is trying ti get that arm out still. He does, but the round comes to an end. Wow. MMA Fighting scores R1 for Souza, 10-9
Round 2: Gastelum was bouncing and ready to get back out there. Frustrating first round there for the younger fighter. Gastelum swiveling his hips, and now he moves in. Jacare took a nice clump there, but wheeled around and lands a nice right hand when he resets. Jacare has a cut above the left eye, which is starting to trickle. Gastelum now looks reinvigorated. He’s landed a couple of nice shots early, though that time his aggression moving in got him clubbed with a well-timed right hand by Jacare. Gastelum changes levels and shoves Jacare to fence, but they break. Back to center. Jacare not afraid to stand and trade here. He misses with a right hand, but after a Gastelum slip he punishes him with a couple of shots. Gastelum is back up and jabbing, and after an exchange Gastelum catches Jacare with a big shot that drops him! He comes in swinging big leather and this could be it! Somehow Jacare is recovering, and now he’s back up. What a moment. Jacare swinging big again, but he’s wobbly on his feet — he’s not fully recovered with 90 seconds to go in the round. Superman left from Gastelum. Jacare still landing body kicks, but he doesn’t look in mint condition. Gastelum is moving in very deliberately, looking for the moment...and as he does, Jacare lands a couple of big shots. They trade! And Jacare with a right. The crowd is living and dying with each Jacare punch. They are swinging big, and Gastelum with another big right hand that kisses Jacare across the chops. Wow. Souza very unstead at the end of the round there. MMA Fighting scores R2 for Gastelum, 10-9 (19-19 overall)
Round 3: They share a hug for the final round, and what a fight it’s been. Damn! And Jacare bounds around the pivoting Gastelum, and Jacare lands a nice shot. Gastelum plants and throws a right hand, but that one misses. He is trying to knock Jacare’s head off with these shots. He is loading up. They trade again, and Jacare shoots for a takedown; nothing doing, Gastelum thwarts it. Body shots from Gastelum, and top music from Jacare. What warriors. They are just slugging at each other. Head kick from Souza lands, and now he drops low for a single leg, and he gets it! The crowd lets up a roar, and Gastelum easily stands back up. Midway through the round, and both guys huffing air. Jacare particularly is wobbly, but he keeps throwing. Gastume plants and lefts fly a combination that lands. And another as Souza rolls around. Gastelum is the fresher fighter late, and he pursues Jacare around the octagon. Still, the older fighter is there, and they trade again. Gastelum took some punishment there, and Jacare goes for a takedown. He gets it momentarily, and a big left from Gastelum at the end. What a fight. Coin flip here. MMA Fighting scores R3 for Gastelum, 10-9 (29-28 for Gastelum)
UFC 224 official results: Kelvin Gastelum def Ronaldo Souza via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)