The UFC has booked a possible middleweight title eliminator for an upcoming spring down card south, and I’ll give my thoughts on this thrilling new fight in the present MMA odds and ends.
Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo»Jacare» Souza two, UFC on ESPN 3
All of us believed the most important event of UFC on ESPN 3 was going to be a five-round middleweight fight between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. However, there’s been a change of plans. According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Costa has been scraped from the card and now Romero will rematch rival Ronaldo»Jacare» Souza at a rematch. UFC on ESPN 3 takes place April 27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, and Romero vs. Souza two is set as the newest five-round main event.
It was possibly slightly surprising to observe the UFC book this rematch at this point of time, together with Romero coming off of a split decision loss to Robert Whittaker in his last fight and Souza a KO win over Chris Weidman, but looking at the condition of the middleweight division more closely the struggle is logical. With Kelvin Gastelum fighting Israel Adesanya in UFC 236 for its interim middleweight title, along with the champ Whittaker sitting on the sidelines with injuries, the branch continues to move along and wait for no one. Both fighters needed a matchup to keep busy in one of the game’s most active divisions, and with no other top-ranked contenders accessible to fight in April, this rematch between Romero and Souza was the best way to go for 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 pair of conclusion declines in the Octagon to Whittaker bookmarked by KO wins within Luke Rockhold and the aforementioned Weidman. 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 stay on top of the middleweight division, and the winner of this bout ought to be close to a title shot.
Romero (13-3) is 9-2 overall in the UFC and has emerged as one of the most devastating knockout artists in the sport today, not to mention one of their most accomplished wrestlers. Souza (26-6, 1 NC) is 8-3 at the UFC and is among the most well-rounded fighters in the division, not to mention one of the best MMA fighters ever to haven’t fought for a UFC title.
As for the odds for this rematch, I am expecting something near a Select ‘em with a slight lean towards Romero because he was training with this particular card and since he won the first fight. But the first fight was only 3 rounds, and these two rounds could prove to be the difference in the rematch now around. Irrespective of who receives their hand raised it is going to be a fight, though.
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