UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 at BB&T Center, and the main event was expected to become a five-round middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza. Unfortunately, Romero has pulled out with trauma and the UFC is scrambling to find a new opponent for Souza. Some other bouts on the card also have seen changes occur, and I will 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 happen at UFC on ESPN 3. ESPN first broke the news that Perry is filling in on short notice for its wounded Li Jingliang.
Oliveira (19-6-1, two NC) is 9-4, 1 NC at the UFC and is coming off of a barbarous entry loss to Gunnar Nelson in his last struggle. He is always in exciting fights win-or-lose, but is lacking that touch success and has not yet proven he can take the next step into contender status. Perry (12-4) includes a 5-4 record in the UFC but has been submitted by Donald Cerrone in his last fight. We all know he’s got power, however he has not shown much else apart from his punching power. This one could go either way as both men are offensively talented yet defensively flawed. I would have to prefer Oliveira as he is better on the ground, but Perry is certainly live in this battle together with his KO power.
Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba, UFC on ESPN 3
Because of an accident to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will face Virna Jandiroba at a women’s strawweight bout. Combate broke the news. Esparza (13-6) is the prior UFC women’s strawweight champion and also has a 4-4 record overall in the Octagon, including a TKO loss to Tatiana Suarez in her final outing. Jandiroba (14-0) was the Invicta women’s strawweight champion after going 3-0 in the promotion. Esparza will probably be favored because of having more UFC expertise, but the unbeaten Jandiroba is absolutely 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 information. Saunders (22-11-2) is just 2-4 in his third stint at the UFC, and is now coming off of back-to-back stoppage losses to Lyman Good and Sergio Moraes. He looks to be on quite the decline. Sato (14-2) is a Pancrase vet who won his last fight, but overall looks like a suspicious signing by the UFC. Given Saunders is from Florida, possibly the UFC thinks they are giving him a winnable fight , but Sato may 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 in 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 weird fight, and the one thing I can imagine is that nobody wanted to combat Burns, that I anticipate to be a massive favorite to conquer Wisely.
Roosevelt Roberts vs. Thomas Gifford, UFC on ESPN 3
And lastly, lightweights Roosevelt Roberts and Thomas Gifford will fulfill at UFC on ESPN 3. Roberts (7-0) has finished all his pro fights such as a submission win over Darrell Horcher within his UFC debut. Gifford (14-7, 2 NC) is making his UFC debut after moving undefeated over his final five bouts on the regional circuit. Gifford appears to be a good prospect but Roosevelt has proven he can win in the UFC and I expect him to be favored quite heavily in this one.
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