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FIGHT PREVIEW - Luiz Rocha vs Bruno Souza

The Pitbull vs The Tiger
by Mac Tyson • 2023. May 29

Lyoto Machida and Patricio Pitbull are two MMA legends who have Karate to thank for their legacy. Lyoto Machida is the fighter who proved Karate was an effective art. Patricio Pitbull, on the other hand, was one of the first fighters to add Karate to his game after he was already a fairly accomplished fighter.

At Karate Combat 39 in Miami, Florida, the respective Protégés of these MMA Legends will come to blows for the undisputed Lightweight Championship of the World.

Luiz “Pitbull” Rocha

Luiz Rocha kicking Josh Quayhagen
Luiz Rocha throws a High Kick at Welterweight Champion Josh Quayhagen in KC's first Super Fight.

Luiz Rocha throws a High Kick at Welterweight Champion Josh Quayhagen in KC's first Super Fight.

The last time we saw Lightweight Champion Luiz Rocha in the Pit, he was holding the Super Fight Trophy after a hard fought 5 round decision victory against Welterweight Champion Josh Quayhagen.

The last time we saw him in the Pit outside of competition was when he got into a confrontation with Bruno Souza after the Tiger called him out. Not wanting to wait around for Edgars Skrivers in June, the Pitbull knew who he wanted to fight next.

Luiz Rocha is a Shotokan stylist and fights very similar to his mentor Patricio Pitbull. Patricio always had KO Power, but it wasn’t until he added Karate to his game that his legendary career truly began, adding new counters and blitzing ability to his game. (His preferred counter being the Sen No Sen counter that you can read more about here.)

Like Patricio, Rocha also has devastating KO power, and his game also revolves around feinting, reading his opponent, and waiting for the right moment to blitz in from a long range.

When in the pocket, both men let their inner Pitbulls out. They maul their opponent with devastating combinations.

Bruno “The Tiger” Souza

Bruno Souza kicking Maciej Tercjak
Bruno Souza sends a Machida-style Front-kick at Maciej Tercjak in his KC debut

Bruno Souza is a true Protégé of Machida Karate. He first trained in Shotokan Karate under the Machida family patriarch Yoshizo Machida before transitioning to MMA with the help of brothers Chinzo and Lyoto Machida.

While he is a Protégé of Machida Karate, this does not mean he fights exactly like Lyoto Machida. Lyoto Machida fought in a much more traditional Shotokan manner of feinting, long distance blitzing, and countering.

Souza is a blitz fighter, feinting and stalking his prey from a distance before pouncing like a true tiger, but he isn’t a natural power puncher and therefore needed to make his own stylistic adjustments. And so he rather presents himself as a slick volume striker after closing the distance.

Souza is constantly weaving in and out of range with crispy combinations to pepper his opponent into submission. He keeps his hands down to bait his opponent into headhunting, knowing that his sense of range and slick head movement will keep him safe and put his opponent into harm's way.

Who will come out on top, the Powerful Pitbull or the Agile Tiger? There’s only one way to find: tune in on May 20th. Learn how to watch KC39 for free.