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 trauma and the UFC is scrambling to get a new opponent for Souza. Some other bouts on the card also have seen changes occur, and I will give my first 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 its wounded Li Jingliang.
Oliveira (19-6-1, two NC) is 9-4, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming from a barbarous entry loss to Gunnar Nelson in his last fight. He’s always in exciting struggles win-or-lose, but is lacking that signature success and has not yet proven 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 struggle. We all know he has knockout power, but he has not shown much else besides his punching power. This one could go either way as both guys are offensively talented yet defensively flawed. I’d have to favor Oliveira as he is better on the ground, but Perry is certainly reside in this battle with his KO power.
Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba, UFC on ESPN 3
Due to an injury to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will now 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 has a 4-4 record total 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 advertising. Esparza will probably be favored due to 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
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 now coming from back-to-back stoppage losses to Lyman Good and Sergio Moraes. He looks to be on quite the decline. 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 out of Florida, possibly the UFC thinks 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 information. 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 one thing I can think of is that no one wanted to combat Burns, that I anticipate to be a massive favorite to defeat Wisely.
Roosevelt Roberts vs. Thomas Gifford, UFC on ESPN 3
And finally, lightweights Roosevelt Roberts and Thomas Gifford will meet at UFC on ESPN 3. Roberts (7-0) has completed all his pro fights including a submission win over Darrell Horcher in his UFC debut. Gifford (14-7, 2 NC) is making his UFC debut after moving undefeated over his last five bouts on the regional circuit. Gifford seems like a decent prospect but Roosevelt has already proven he can win in the UFC and I expect him to be favored fairly heavily in this one.
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