YOEL ROMERO VS. RONALDO “JACARE” SOUZA 2 HEADLINES UFC ON ESPN 3
The UFC has reserved a possible middleweight title eliminator for an upcoming spring down card south, and I will give my thoughts on this thrilling new battle in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza two, UFC on ESPN 3
We all thought the main event of UFC on ESPN 3 was going to be a five-round middleweight fight between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. There’s been a change of plans. Based on ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Costa has been scraped in the card and now Romero will rematch rival Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza in a rematch. UFC on ESPN 3 takes place April 27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, and Romero vs. Souza 2 is defined as the new five-round principal event.
It was possibly slightly surprising to observe that the UFC publication this rematch at this point of time, with Romero coming off of a split decision loss to Robert Whittaker in his last struggle and Souza that a KO win over Chris Weidman, but looking at the condition of the middleweight division more closely the fight makes sense. With Kelvin Gastelum combating Israel Adesanya at UFC 236 for the 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 stay busy in one of the sport’s most active branches, and with no other top-ranked contenders available 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 at UFC 194 in December 2015 (the 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 over Luke Rockhold and the aforementioned Weidman. Souza, meanwhile, has gone 4-2 since then 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 at the top of the middleweight division, and also the winner of the bout should 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 in the sport today, not to mention among their most accomplished wrestlers. Souza (26-6, 1 NC) is 8-3 in the UFC and is among the most well-rounded fighters at the branch, and of course one of the best MMA fighters to have not fought for a UFC title.
As for the odds for this rematch, I am expecting something near a Pick ’em with a little lean towards Romero just because he was training for this card and since he won the first battle. Nevertheless, the fight was only 3 rounds, and these extra two rounds could turn out to be the difference in the rematch this time around. Irrespective of who gets their hands raised, it is likely to be a fight, though.
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