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. Regrettably, Romero has pulled out with trauma and the UFC is scrambling to get a new competitor for Souza. Some other bouts on the card have also seen changes occur, and I’ll give my initial thoughts on them under.
Alex Oliveira vs. Mike Perry, UFC on ESPN 3
An intriguing 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 the wounded Li Jingliang.
Oliveira (19-6-1, two NC) is 9-4, 1 NC at the UFC and is coming off of a brutal entry reduction to Gunnar Nelson in his last fight. He’s constantly in exciting fights win-or-lose, but is lacking that touch success and has not yet demonstrated 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. Most of us know he’s knockout power, however he hasn’t shown much else besides his hitting power. This one could go either way as both men are talented yet defensively flawed. I would have to favor Oliveira as he’s better on the floor, but Perry is certainly live in this battle together with his KO power.
Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba, UFC on ESPN 3
Due to an injury to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will 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 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 advertising. Esparza will likely be favored because of having more UFC expertise, but the unbeaten Jandiroba is completely a live dog in this fight.
Ben Saunders vs. Takashi Sato, UFC on ESPN 3
Additionally 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 only 2-4 in his third stint at the UFC, and is coming from back-to-back stoppage declines 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 from Florida, maybe the UFC believes they’re giving him a winnable battle , 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 place 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 in the UFC back in 2012, when he went 0-2. This is a weird fight, and the only thing I can imagine is that nobody desired to fight Burns, that 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 fulfill at UFC on ESPN 3. Roberts (7-0) has finished all his pro fights including a submission win over Darrell Horcher within his UFC debut. Gifford (14-7, 2 NC) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated over his final five bouts in the regional circuit. Gifford appears to be a good prospect but Roosevelt has already proven he can win in the UFC and I expect him to become favored quite heavily in this one.
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