The UFC has booked a possible middleweight title eliminator for an upcoming spring card down south, and I’ll give my thoughts on this exciting new battle 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 scraped in the card and 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 defined as the new five-round main event.
It was perhaps slightly surprising to see that the UFC book this rematch at the time period, together with Romero coming from a split decision loss to Robert Whittaker in his final fight and Souza a KO win over Chris Weidman, however looking at the condition of the middleweight division more closely the fight makes sense. 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 needed a matchup to keep busy in among the game’s most active branches, and with no additional top-ranked contenders accessible to fight in April, this rematch between Romero and Souza was the best way to go to the UFC.
The very first time Romero and Souza fought was back in UFC 194 at December 2015 (the exact same night Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo), together with Romero edging out a narrow split decision. Ever since that time, Romero has gone 2-2 with a pair of conclusion losses in the Octagon to Whittaker bookmarked by KO wins within Luke Rockhold and the above Weidman. Souza, meanwhile, has gone 4-2 since with endings within Weidman, Derek Brunson, Vitor Belfort and Tim Boetsch and reductions to Whittaker and Gastelum. Despite both Romero and Souza being 41 and 39, respectively, they stay on top of the middleweight division, and also the winner of the bout ought to be close to a title shot.
Romero (13-3) is 9-2 overall from the UFC and has emerged as one of the most devastating knockout artists from the game today, not to mention one of the most accomplished wrestlers. Souza (26-6, 1 NC) is 8-3 at the UFC and is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the branch, not to mention among the best MMA fighters ever to haven’t fought for a UFC name.
In terms of the odds for this rematch, I’m expecting something near a Pick Celtics using a little lean towards Romero just because he was already training with this particular card and since he won the first fight. Nevertheless, the fight was only three rounds, and these two rounds could turn out to be the gap in the rematch now around. Irrespective of who gets their hands raised, it is going to be a fight that is great, though.
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