UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 at BB&T Center, and the major event was anticipated to be a five-round middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo »Jacare » Souza. Unfortunately, Romero has pulled out with injury and the UFC is trying to find a new opponent for Souza. Some other bouts on the card have also seen changes occur, and I will give my first 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 the injured Li Jingliang.
Oliveira (19-6-1, two NC) is currently 9-4, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming off of a barbarous submission loss to Gunnar Nelson in his last struggle. He is always in exciting fights 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) includes a 5-4 record at the UFC but was filed by Donald Cerrone in his final struggle. We all know he has knockout power, however he has not shown much else apart from his punching power. This one can go either way as both guys are offensively talented however defensively flawed. I’d have to favor Oliveira as he’s better on the ground, but Perry is certainly reside in this fight with his KO power.
Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba, UFC on ESPN 3
Because of an accident to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will face Virna Jandiroba in a women’s strawweight bout. Combate broke the information. Esparza (13-6) is the prior UFC women’s strawweight champion and has a 4-4 record total from 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 promotion. Esparza will probably be favored due to having 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 news. 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 appears to be on quite the decline. Sato (14-2) is a Pancrase vet who won his last fight, but overall looks like a suspicious signing by the UFC. Given Saunders is from Florida, maybe the UFC believes they’re providing him a winnable fight , but Sato may 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 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 at the UFC back in 2012, when he went 0-2. This is a weird fight, and the only thing I can think of is that nobody wanted to combat Burns, who I expect to be a huge favorite to conquer Wisely.
Roosevelt Roberts vs. Thomas Gifford, UFC on ESPN 3
And lastly, lightweights Roosevelt Roberts and Thomas Gifford will meet at UFC on ESPN 3. Roberts (7-0) has finished all of 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 going undefeated over his last five bouts in the regional circuit. Gifford seems like 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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