Further, the fighters Couture has beaten during his career reads like a who's who of mixed martial arts: Vitor Belfort ( two wins via TKO ), Maurice Smith ( decision ), Jeremy Horn ( decision ), Kevin Randleman ( TKO ), Tsuyoshi Kohsaka ( decision ), Pedro Rizzo ( one decision victory, one TKO ), Chuck Liddell ( TKO ), Tito Ortiz ( decision ). . .
Need we say more?
No; but we will.
The thing is, Couture showed the world that a man advancing in age could still be competitive, even dominant, in the sport of mixed martial arts. Remember that this is a man that started fighting in MMA when he was in his thirties. Therefore we tend to forget what it was he was doing before the UFC.
He was wrestling, of course, Greco-Roman style.
Not doing a bad job at it either, as Couture was a three-time Olympic Team alternate ( 1988, 1992, 1996 ), a three-time Division I All-American at Oklahoma State, two-time NCAA finalist, a Pan American gold medalist ( 1991 ), and a semifinalist at the 2000 Olympic Trials.
Now the ever popular and surprising Randy Couture is about to embark on a new challenge. He's taking a step back, if you will, perhaps closer to his grappling roots.
This one is all about submission fighting, plain and simple.
"It's a fun opportunity for me to get into grappling," Couture said in an MMAWeekly article. "I never had an opportunity to do the competitive grappling stuff because of fighting."
Still, knowing the competitor Couture is, it's only going to be fun if he wins, and that isn't going to be easy.
Souza is a BJJ Absolute Mundial and ADCC World Submission Champion with a 3-1 MMA record. Though he hasn't really made a name for himself as a mixed martial artist yet; he's an extremely well respected jiu-jitsu fighter that is going to be in his element in this kind of event.
Further, Souza fights out of Brazil Dojo with Wallid Ismail, an eight time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion that has beaten the likes of Royce Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Ralph Gracie, and Ryan Gracie in jiu-jitsu tournaments.
Still, Couture believes that he'll be ready. "Training is going pretty well," he said in the same MMAWeekly piece noted previously. "I'm crawling back into shape, getting my sprints in and getting back into competitive shape."
Of added benefit, Couture will only be asked to fight two- four minute rounds in this one ( nothing compared to the five- five minute rounds he often dealt with in UFC Championship matches ). Further, "The Natural" outweighs Souza by roughly 40 pounds.
So will that be enough to net him the win? Tough call.
No doubt Couture is going to be the better takedown and ground control guy with his wrestling background and weight advantage. But remember, Couture's bread and butter as a mixed martial artist was his ground and pound. When unable to use his elbows on Souza from the top position, what will he rely on? Though his submission defense was pretty darned good by the time he retired from MMA competition ( Couture hasn't been traditionally submitted since Valentijn Overeem choked him back on 2/24/01 ) that submission defense was definitely aided by his ability to pound people in the face.
Beyond that, Couture only has two submission wins in his MMA career.
So the good money will be on Couture to win by decision or lose by submission.
Of course, this is Randy Couture we're talking about. Captain America in some circles. A man that is not used to failure.
So if he goes ahead and submits Souza, no one will actually be surprised.
Well, no one except Souza, that is.
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