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Manager: ‘Jacare’ Souza not interested in David Branch fight

"Jacare" Souza is not interested in fighting Dave Branch at UFC Sao Paulo.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC was planning on booking Ronaldo Souza vs. David Branch for the upcoming UFC Sao Paulo event in Brazil on Sept. 22, possibly as the main event, but the fight is unlikely to happen now.

Branch has been vocal on Twitter over the past few days, accusing “Jacare” of turning down the offer.

Souza (25-6, 1 no-contest) is coming off a close split-decision loss to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro, losing momentum months after an impressive first-round knockout over Derek Brunson.

Branch (22-4), a former two-division champion at WSOF, is 2-1 since returning to the UFC in 2017, stopping Thiago Santos in his most recent bout.

MMA Fighting reached out to Souza’s manager, who confirmed that they were offered a five-round clash with Branch in Sao Paulo but are not interested at the moment.

“Dave Branch was offered to us twice in 18 months. and ‘Jacare’ agreed both times, but he jumped ship,” Gilberto Faria said. “‘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,” he continued. “‘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.”

“Jacare” lost controversial decisions to both Gastelum and Romero inside the Octagon. Gastelum and Weidman are campaigning for a shot at UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker next after Romero lost a split decision to the 185-pound kingpin earlier this month at UFC 225.

The UFC hasn’t announced any matchups for the upcoming Fight Night event in Sao Paulo, and now needs to come up with a new idea for the main event.

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