YOEL ROMERO VS. RONALDO “JACARE” SOUZA 2 HEADLINES UFC ON ESPN 3
The UFC has reserved a possible middleweight title eliminator for an approaching spring down card south, and I will give my thoughts on this thrilling new fight in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo»Jacare» Souza two, UFC on ESPN 3
We all 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. Based on ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Costa has been scraped in the card and now 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 2 is defined as the new five-round main event.
It was possibly slightly surprising to observe that the UFC publication this rematch at this time period, with Romero coming from a split decision loss to Robert Whittaker in his last fight and Souza that a KO win over Chris Weidman, however looking at the state of the middleweight division more closely the struggle is logical. 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 division continues to move along and wait for no one. Both fighters needed a matchup to stay busy in one of the game’s most active branches, and with no additional 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 exact same night Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo), with Romero edging out a narrow split decision. Since that time, Romero has gone 2-2 using a set of decision losses at the Octagon to Whittaker bookmarked by KO wins over the above Weidman and Luke Rockhold. Souza, meanwhile, has gone 4-2 since then with finishes 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 peak of the middleweight division, and also the winner of the bout ought to be near a title shot.
Romero (13-3) is 9-2 overall in the UFC and has emerged as one of the most devastating knockout artists from the sport 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 at the division, not to mention one of the best MMA fighters ever to haven’t fought for a UFC title.
In terms of the odds with this rematch, I’m anticipating something near a Select Celtics using a slight lean towards Romero just because he was already training with this particular card and since he won the first battle. Nevertheless, the first fight was only 3 rounds, and these two rounds could prove to be the difference in the rematch now around. It’s likely to be a fight that is great regardless of who receives their hands raised.
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