UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 at BB&T Center, and the main 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 trying to get a new opponent for Souza. A few 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 take place 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 at the UFC and is coming from a brutal submission loss to Gunnar Nelson in his final struggle. He is always in exciting struggles win-or-lose, but is lacking that touch victory and has not yet proven he can take the next step in to contender status. Perry (12-4) includes a 5-4 record at the UFC but was submitted by Donald Cerrone in his last fight. We all know he has knockout power, but he has not shown much else apart from his hitting power. This one could go either way as both guys are talented yet defensively flawed. I’d have to prefer 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 accident to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will now face Virna Jandiroba at a women’s strawweight bout. Combate broke the news. Esparza (13-6) is the former UFC women’s strawweight champion and has a 4-4 record total 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 getting more UFC experience, 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 information. Saunders (22-11-2) is just 2-4 in his third stint in the UFC, and is coming off of back-to-back stoppage declines 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 out of Florida, possibly the UFC believes they are giving him a winnable battle here, but Sato could surprise and get the knockout win.
Gilbert Burns vs. Eric Wisely, UFC on ESPN 3
Lightweights Gilbert Burns and Eric Wisely are set to meet. Combate had the news. Burns (14-3) is 7-3 at 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 at 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 nobody desired to combat Burns, who I anticipate to be a massive 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 his pro fights such as a submission win over Darrell Horcher within 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 appears to be a good possibility but Roosevelt has proven he can win in the UFC and I expect him to be favored quite heavily in this one.
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