UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 at BB&T Center, and the major event was expected to be a five-round middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza. Regrettably, Romero has pulled out with injury and the UFC is trying to find a new opponent for Souza. Some other bouts on the card also have seen changes occur, and I’ll give my first 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 injured Li Jingliang.
Oliveira (19-6-1, 2 NC) is currently 9-4, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming off of a barbarous entry reduction to Gunnar Nelson in his final struggle. He’s constantly in exciting struggles win-or-lose, but is lacking that signature success and hasn’t yet demonstrated he can take another step into contender status. Perry (12-4) has a 5-4 record in the UFC but has been submitted by Donald Cerrone in his final struggle. Most of us know he’s got power, however he hasn’t shown much else besides his hitting power. This one could go either way as both guys are talented yet defensively flawed. I would have to favor 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 information. Esparza (13-6) is the former UFC women’s strawweight champion and also has a 4-4 record total in 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 likely be favored because of getting 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 only 2-4 in his third stint in the UFC, and is coming from 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 struggle, but overall looks like a suspicious signing by the UFC. Given Saunders is from Florida, possibly the UFC believes they are providing him a winnable fight , 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 place to meet. Combate had the news. Burns (14-3) is 7-3 at 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 in the UFC back in 2012, when he went 0-2. This is a bizarre fight, and the one thing I can imagine is that nobody desired to combat Burns, who 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 completed all of his pro fights including a submission win over Darrell Horcher in his UFC debut. Gifford (14-7, two NC) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated over his last five bouts in the regional circuit. Gifford seems like a decent possibility 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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