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 injury and the UFC is scrambling to find a new opponent for Souza. A few other bouts on the card also have seen changes happen, and I’ll give my initial thoughts on them under.
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 its wounded Li Jingliang.
Oliveira (19-6-1, 2 NC) is currently 9-4, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming from a brutal entry reduction to Gunnar Nelson in his final fight. He is always in exciting struggles win-or-lose, but is lacking that touch victory and has not yet demonstrated he can take another step into contender status. Perry (12-4) includes a 5-4 record at the UFC but has been filed by Donald Cerrone in his last fight. We all 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 men are offensively talented yet defensively flawed. I’d have to prefer Oliveira as he is better on the ground, but Perry is certainly live in this fight 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 news. Esparza (13-6) is the prior UFC women’s strawweight champion and has a 4-4 record overall from the Octagon, including 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 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
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 off of back-to-back stoppage losses to Lyman Good and Sergio Moraes. He looks to be on quite the decrease. Sato (14-2) is a Pancrase vet who won his last struggle, but overall looks like a questionable signing by the UFC. Given Saunders is from Florida, possibly the UFC believes they’re providing him a winnable battle , but Sato could surprise and receive 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 bizarre fight, and the only thing I can think of is that nobody desired to combat Burns, that I expect to be a huge 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 finished 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 final five bouts in 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 be preferred quite heavily in this one.
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