Souza is expected to fulfill the first fight on his contract in the fall.
“I am very excited that I will have the opportunity to fight in STRIKEFORCE amongst many of the world’s best middleweight fighters,” said the 29-year-old Souza, a native of Brazil, established his position as a top tier middleweight last year after placing second in the 2008 Dream Middleweight Grand Prix single elimination tournament in Japan.
“STRIKEFORCE has an extremely deep roster of top middleweight fighters. I am looking forward to the challenge and to taking my career to the next level.”
During the opening round of the Dream tournament held in the city of Saitama on April 29, 2008, Souza submitted Ian Murphy with a rear naked choke in the first round (3:37). Souza’s next opponent, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, proved to be a tougher battle, escaping several submission attempts by the Brazilian in Yokohama on June 15, 2008. Souza prevailed, however, earning a unanimous decision over the American star.
In semifinal action on September 23, 2008, Souza made quick work of Zelg Galesic, submitting Galesic with an armbar in the first round (1:27) of action in Saitama. That same night, however, Souza was finally stopped by Gegard Mousasi, the number two ranked middleweight in the world, in the first round (2:15) of the tournament’s championship bout in Saitama.
Souza, who took up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the age of 17, fought MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture to a draw in a grappling contest in 2006 and, shortly thereafter, began training at Xtreme Couture. He has since returned to training in his homeland.
Souza’s nickname, “Jacare,” is Portuguese for the species of alligator that inhabit Manaus, the town in Brazil where he was born.
The news of Souza signing with STRIKEFORCE comes two days after the San Jose, California based promotion inked an agreement with M-1 Global to co-promote Fedor Emelianenko, the world’s top ranked heavyweight and arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world.