UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 at BB&T Center, and the main event was expected to be a five-round middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza. Regrettably, Romero has pulled out with injury and the UFC is trying to get a new competitor for Souza. Some other bouts on the card also have seen changes happen, and I will give my initial 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 its wounded Li Jingliang.
Oliveira (19-6-1, 2 NC) is currently 9-4, 1 NC at the UFC and is coming from a barbarous entry reduction to Gunnar Nelson in his final struggle. He’s always in exciting struggles win-or-lose, but is lacking that touch success and hasn’t yet demonstrated he can take the next step into contender status. Perry (12-4) has a 5-4 record at the UFC but has been submitted by Donald Cerrone in his last fight. We all know he has got power, however he has not shown much else besides his punching power. This one could go either way as both guys are talented yet defensively flawed. I would have to prefer Oliveira as he is better on the floor, but Perry is certainly live in this fight together with his KO power.
Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba, UFC on ESPN 3
Due to an accident to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will 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 has a 4-4 record overall from the Octagon, such as a TKO loss to Tatiana Suarez in her final outing. Jandiroba (14-0) was the Invicta women’s strawweight champion after going 3-0 in the advertising. Esparza will likely be favored because of getting more UFC experience, but the unbeaten Jandiroba is absolutely a live dog in this fight.
Ben Saunders vs. Takashi Sato, UFC on ESPN 3
Additionally 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 at the UFC, and is now coming from back-to-back stoppage declines 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 struggle, but overall looks like a suspicious signing by the UFC. Given Saunders is out of Florida, maybe the UFC believes they are giving him a winnable fight here, but Sato could surprise and receive 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 on the regional circuit. He had one previous stint in the UFC back in 2012, when he went 0-2. This is a bizarre fight, and the only thing I can imagine is that nobody wanted to fight Burns, who I expect to be a huge favorite to defeat Wisely.
Roosevelt Roberts vs. Thomas Gifford, UFC on ESPN 3
And lastly, lightweights Roosevelt Roberts and Thomas Gifford will fulfill at UFC on ESPN 3. Roberts (7-0) has completed all of his pro fights including a submission win over Darrell Horcher in his UFC debut. Gifford (14-7, 2 NC) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated over his last five bouts on the regional circuit. Gifford seems like a good prospect but Roosevelt has proven he can win in the UFC and I expect him to be favored fairly heavily in this one.
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