The UFC has booked a potential middleweight title eliminator for an approaching spring down card south, and I will offer my thoughts on this thrilling new fight in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza two, UFC on ESPN 3
All of us thought the most important event of UFC on ESPN 3 was likely to become a five-round middleweight fight between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. There’s been a change of plans. According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Costa was scratched from the card and Romero will rematch rival Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza in a rematch. UFC on ESPN 3 takes place April 27 in BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, and Romero vs. Souza two is set as the newest five-round principal event.
It was possibly slightly surprising to see that the UFC publication this rematch at this time period, together with Romero coming from a split decision loss to Robert Whittaker in his last struggle and Souza a KO win over Chris Weidman, however looking at the condition of the middleweight division more closely the struggle is logical. With Kelvin Gastelum fighting Israel Adesanya at UFC 236 for the interim middleweight title, and the champ Whittaker sitting on the sidelines with injuries, the branch continues to move along and wait for no one. Both fighters had a matchup to stay busy in one of the sport’s most active divisions, and with no additional top-ranked contenders available to fight in April, this rematch between Romero and Souza was the way to go to the UFC.
The very first time Romero and Souza fought was back at UFC 194 in December 2015 (the exact same night Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo), with Romero edging out a narrow split decision. Since that time, Romero has gone 2-2 with a set of conclusion declines at the Octagon to Whittaker bookmarked by KO wins over the aforementioned Weidman and Luke Rockhold. Souza, meanwhile, has gone 4-2 since with finishes within Weidman, Derek Brunson, Vitor Belfort and Tim Boetsch and losses to Whittaker and Gastelum. Despite both Romero and Souza being 41 and 39, respectively, they remain on top of the middleweight division, and the winner of this bout should be near a title shot.
Romero (13-3) is 9-2 overall in the UFC and has emerged as one of the most devastating knockout artists from the game today, and of course one of their most accomplished wrestlers. Souza (26-6, 1 NC) is 8-3 in the UFC and is among the most well-rounded fighters in the branch, and of course one of the best MMA fighters ever to haven’t fought for a UFC title.
In terms of the chances with this rematch, I’m anticipating something near a Pick ’em with a slight lean towards Romero just because he was training for this particular card and because he won the first battle. Nevertheless, the first fight was just 3 rounds, and these two rounds could turn out to be the gap in the rematch now around. It’s going to be a fight that is great regardless of who gets their hands raised.
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