The next UFC event — UFC on Fox 27 — goes down this Saturday (Jan. 27th) and comes with a main-event tip between Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza and Derek Brunson. This is the second time both of these middleweights will face off, with Souza winning via knockout in their first go around in 2012. However, time is a funny thing, and six years later, it is Brunson riding the tide of momentum while Souza regroups after a catastrophic loss that cost him a shot in the UFC middleweight title.
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While this isn’t the tastiest main course the UFC has served, it is a captivating contrast in styles, and each MMA event, no matter the hype, creates potential gambling opportunities. Where is the smart money going for Souza vs Brunson 2?
Stay tuned for a more comprehensive look at the card in Best Bets for UFC on Fox 27 this Thursday.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (-160) vs. Derek Brunson (+135)
Jacare Souza fighting in Strikeforce.
Jacare Souza fighting in Strikeforce. Photo by LowLight (YouTube) [CC Permit ].
This is your classic battle of fashions. Ronaldo Souza (24-5, 17 admissions ) is among the very best jiu-jitsu professionals to ever step foot into a UFC Octagon while Derek Brunson (18-5, 10 KOs) loves to put people to sleep with his strong fists.
Initially these two combatants met was back in 2012 under the aged Strikeforce bannerand it was actually Souza who managed to put Brunson to sleep with a fast hook, one of three career knockouts for the Brazilian.
Six years later, Brunson, a former Division II All-American wrestler (and cheerleader!) , has a chance for revenge.
His opponent is one of the most feared grapplers around the planet, and it has ended 58-percent of his fights via entry. As he showed in the first matchup, he is not too shabby in casting leather either. He lands a decent 2.28 significant strikes per minute and has a striking accuracy of 44.1-percent.
Souza suffered a devastating loss to Robert Whittaker via head kick at his final fight (April 2017), but he has also won 10 of his last 12 and has never lost back-to-back conflicts in his career. A win on Saturday would put Souza’s title back to middleweight title picture, and time is of the essence for the 38-year-old.
At 34, Derek Brunson’s own career clock is getting late. He rebounded from back-to-back losses to Whittaker and Anderson Silva with KO wins over Dan Kelly (June 2017) and Lyoto Machida (October 2017), increasing up the middleweight rankings in the procedure. Knocking men out isn’t something new to its hard-hitting middleweight, who averages 3.2 significant strikes per minute with a striking accuracy of 32.1-percent. He has won 61-percent of his own struggles via KO, and it has generated knockouts in each of his last six victories. Interestingly, he has never been filed in his career.
The contrasting styles make this a tremendously interesting fight for MMA purists. Typically, it’s smart to lean towards the high-level grappler over the power puncher, but Souza’s age combined with his very last performance suggest a potential Brunson upset. Search for the American to utilize his speed, power, and five-inch reach advantage (77??? vs 72???) to attempt to end things early, while utilizing his elite wrestling to keep the fight standing.
At the moment, Brunson is recorded at +135 on MyBookie.ag. It is a fantastic value bet worth getting now.
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