UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 in BB&T Center, and the major event was anticipated to become a five-round middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza. Regrettably, Romero has pulled out with injury and the UFC is scrambling to find a new competitor for Souza. Some other bouts on the card also have seen changes happen, and I’ll give my initial thoughts on them below.
Alex Oliveira vs. Mike Perry, UFC on ESPN 3
An intriguing 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 9-4, 1 NC at the UFC and is coming from a barbarous submission reduction to Gunnar Nelson in his last struggle. He’s constantly in exciting struggles win-or-lose, but is lacking that touch success and hasn’t yet proven he can take another step into contender status. Perry (12-4) includes a 5-4 record in the UFC but was submitted by Donald Cerrone in his last struggle. Most of us know he has knockout power, however he has not shown much else apart from his hitting power. This one could go either way as both guys are offensively talented however defensively flawed. I’d have to prefer Oliveira as he’s better on the ground, but Perry is certainly live in this fight together with his KO power.
Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba, UFC on ESPN 3
Because of an injury to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will now face Virna Jandiroba in a women’s strawweight bout. Combate broke the news. Esparza (13-6) is the former UFC women’s strawweight champion and has a 4-4 record total from 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 promotion. Esparza will probably be favored due to having more UFC experience, 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 information. Saunders (22-11-2) is only 2-4 in his third stint in the UFC, and is now coming off of back-to-back stoppage declines to Lyman Good and Sergio Moraes. He appears 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’re giving him a winnable battle , but Sato may surprise and receive 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 from 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 imagine is that no one desired to fight Burns, that I expect to be a massive favorite to defeat 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 completed all his pro fights including a submission win over Darrell Horcher within his UFC debut. Gifford (14-7, two NC) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated over his last five bouts on the regional circuit. Gifford seems like a good prospect 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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