UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 at BB&T Center, and the main event was anticipated to become 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 find a new opponent for Souza. A few other bouts on the card also have seen changes happen, 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 happen 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, 2 NC) is currently 9-4, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming from a barbarous entry loss to Gunnar Nelson in his last struggle. He is constantly in exciting struggles win-or-lose, but is lacking that signature success and hasn’t yet proven he can take the next step in to contender status. Perry (12-4) includes a 5-4 record in the UFC but was filed by Donald Cerrone in his last struggle. We all know he’s got power, however he hasn’t shown much else apart from his punching power. This one can go either way as both men are talented however defensively flawed. I would have to favor Oliveira as he’s better on the floor, 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 now face Virna Jandiroba in a women’s strawweight bout. Combate broke the news. Esparza (13-6) is the prior 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 probably be favored because of 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
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 losses to Lyman Good and Sergio Moraes. He appears to be on rather the decrease. 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 out of Florida, possibly the UFC thinks they’re giving him a winnable fight 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 in the UFC back in 2012, when he went 0-2. This is a weird fight, and the only thing I can imagine is that no one desired to fight Burns, that I anticipate to be a huge 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 of 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 on the regional circuit. Gifford seems like a decent prospect 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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