UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 at BB&T Center, and the main event was anticipated to be a five-round middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza. Regrettably, Romero has pulled out with trauma and the UFC is scrambling to get a new opponent for Souza. Some other bouts on the card have also seen changes happen, and I’ll give my initial thoughts on them below.
Alex Oliveira vs. Mike Perry, UFC on ESPN 3
An exciting welterweight bout between Alex Oliveira and Mike Perry will take place at UFC on ESPN 3. ESPN first broke the news that Perry is filling in on short notice for the wounded Li Jingliang.
Oliveira (19-6-1, two NC) is currently 9-4, 1 NC at the UFC and is coming from a brutal entry reduction to Gunnar Nelson in his last fight. He’s always in exciting fights win-or-lose, but is lacking that signature success and hasn’t yet proven he can take the next step into contender status. Perry (12-4) includes a 5-4 record at the UFC but was submitted by Donald Cerrone in his last fight. We all know he has knockout power, however he hasn’t shown much else apart from his punching power. This one can go either way as both guys are talented yet defensively flawed. I’d have to favor Oliveira as he is better on the floor, but Perry is certainly reside in this battle with his KO power.
Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba, UFC on ESPN 3
Because of an accident to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will now face Virna Jandiroba at a women’s strawweight bout. Combate broke the information. Esparza (13-6) is the former UFC women’s strawweight champion and has a 4-4 record total in the Octagon, such as a TKO loss to Tatiana Suarez in her last outing. Jandiroba (14-0) was the Invicta women’s strawweight champion after going 3-0 in the advertising. Esparza will probably be favored because of getting more UFC expertise, but the unbeaten Jandiroba is completely a live dog in this fight.
Ben Saunders vs. Takashi Sato, UFC on ESPN 3
Also added to UFC on ESPN 3 is a welterweight bout between Ben Saunders and Takashi Sato. Asian MMA broke the news. Saunders (22-11-2) is just 2-4 in his third stint in the UFC, and is coming from back-to-back stoppage losses to Lyman Good and Sergio Moraes. He appears to be on rather the decline. Sato (14-2) is a Pancrase vet who won his last struggle, but overall looks like a suspicious signing by the UFC. Given Saunders is out of Florida, possibly the UFC thinks they’re giving him a winnable fight , but Sato could surprise and get the knockout win.
Gilbert Burns vs. Eric Wisely, UFC on ESPN 3
Lightweights Gilbert Burns and Eric Wisely are set to meet. Combate had the news. Burns (14-3) is 7-3 at the UFC and is coming off of a decision win over Olivier Aubin-Mercier. Wisely (30-9-1) is making his return to the Octagon after going unbeaten over his last nine fights in the regional circuit. He had one previous stint at the UFC back in 2012, when he went 0-2. This is a bizarre fight, and the one thing I can think of is that nobody wanted to combat Burns, who I expect to be a huge favorite to conquer Wisely.
Roosevelt Roberts vs. Thomas Gifford, UFC on ESPN 3
And finally, lightweights Roosevelt Roberts and Thomas Gifford will meet at UFC on ESPN 3. Roberts (7-0) has completed all of his pro fights such as a submission win over Darrell Horcher in his UFC debut. Gifford (14-7, 2 NC) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated over his final five bouts on the regional circuit. Gifford appears to be a decent possibility but Roosevelt has already proven he can win in the UFC and I expect him to become favored fairly heavily in this one.
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