The UFC has reserved a possible middleweight title eliminator for an upcoming spring card down south, and I’ll offer my thoughts on this thrilling new battle in the present MMA odds and ends.
Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo»Jacare» Souza two, UFC on ESPN 3
All of us thought the main event of UFC on ESPN 3 was likely to be a five-round middleweight fight between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. But, there’s been a change of plans. Based on 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 in BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, and Romero vs. Souza two is defined as the newest five-round main event.
It was perhaps slightly surprising to observe that the UFC book this rematch at this time period, together with Romero coming off of a split decision loss to Robert Whittaker in his final struggle and Souza that a KO win over Chris Weidman, however looking at the state of the middleweight division more closely the struggle makes sense. With Kelvin Gastelum combating 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 one of the game’s most active branches, and with no other 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 at UFC 194 in December 2015 (the exact same night Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo), together with Romero edging out a narrow split decision. Ever since then, Romero has gone 2-2 with a pair of decision declines in the Octagon to Whittaker. Souza, meanwhile, has gone 4-2 since then with endings over 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 at the peak of the middleweight division, and also the winner of this bout ought to be near 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 their most accomplished wrestlers. Souza (26-6, 1 NC) is 8-3 in the UFC and is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division, not to mention among the best MMA fighters ever to have not fought for a UFC title.
As for the chances with this rematch, I am anticipating something near a Pick Celtics using a slight lean towards Romero just because he was training for this card and because he won the first battle. Nevertheless, the first fight was only 3 rounds, and these two rounds could turn out to be the gap in the rematch now around. Irrespective of who gets their hand raised it is likely to be a fight, however.
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