UFC Ft. Lauderdale is set to take place April 27 at BB&T Center, and the main event was anticipated to become a five-round middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza. Unfortunately, Romero has pulled out with injury and the UFC is scrambling to get a new competitor for Souza. Some other bouts on the card have also seen changes happen, and I’ll 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 take place 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, two NC) is 9-4, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming off of a brutal submission loss to Gunnar Nelson in his final struggle. He is constantly in exciting fights win-or-lose, but is lacking that touch success and has not yet demonstrated he can take another step into contender status. Perry (12-4) has a 5-4 record in the UFC but was filed by Donald Cerrone in his last fight. We all know he has knockout power, but he hasn’t shown much else besides his punching power. This one could go either way as both guys are talented however defensively flawed. I’d have to favor Oliveira as he’s better on the floor, but Perry is certainly live in this battle with his KO power.
Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba, UFC on ESPN 3
Because of an injury to Livia Renata Souza, Carla Esparza will now face Virna Jandiroba at a women’s strawweight bout. Combate broke the information. Esparza (13-6) is the former UFC women’s strawweight champion and also has a 4-4 record overall from the Octagon, including a TKO loss to Tatiana Suarez in her last 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 having more UFC expertise, but the unbeaten Jandiroba is completely 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 news. Saunders (22-11-2) is just 2-4 in his third stint at the UFC, and is now coming off of back-to-back stoppage declines to Lyman Good and Sergio Moraes. He looks to be on quite the decline. Sato (14-2) is a Pancrase vet who won his last fight, but overall looks like a suspicious signing by the UFC. Given Saunders is from Florida, maybe the UFC thinks they are giving him a winnable fight here, but Sato could surprise and get 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 information. 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 weird fight, and the only thing I can think of is that nobody wanted to combat Burns, that I expect to be a massive favorite to conquer 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 finished all 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 moving undefeated over his last five bouts in the regional circuit. Gifford seems like a decent prospect but Roosevelt has proven he can win in the UFC and I expect him to become preferred fairly heavily in this one.
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