The UFC has booked a possible middleweight title eliminator for an upcoming 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
All of us believed the main event of UFC on ESPN 3 was going to become a five-round middleweight fight between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. But, there’s been a change of plans. According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Costa was scratched from 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 two is defined as the newest five-round main event.
It was perhaps slightly surprising to see that the UFC publication this rematch at this point of time, together with Romero coming from a split decision loss to Robert Whittaker in his last struggle and Souza that a KO win over Chris Weidman, however looking at the condition of the middleweight division more closely the struggle makes sense. With Kelvin Gastelum combating Israel Adesanya in UFC 236 for its interim middleweight title, along with the champ Whittaker sitting on the sidelines with injuries, the division continues to move along and await no one. Both fighters had a matchup to stay busy in one of the sport’s most active divisions, and no additional top-ranked contenders available to fight in April, this rematch between Romero and Souza was the way to go to the UFC.
The first time Romero and Souza fought was back in UFC 194 at December 2015 (the same night Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo), together with Romero edging out a narrow split decision. Since then, Romero has gone 2-2 at the Octagon with a set of decision losses to Whittaker bookmarked by KO wins over the above Weidman and Luke Rockhold. Souza, meanwhile, has gone 4-2 since with finishes 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 on peak of the middleweight division, and 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 game today, not to mention one of the 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 to haven’t fought for a UFC title.
In terms of the chances with this rematch, I’m expecting something near a Select ‘em with a slight lean towards Romero just because he was already training for this card and since he won the first fight. Nevertheless, the very first fight was only three rounds, and these additional two rounds could turn out to be the gap in the rematch now around. It is going to be a fight that is fantastic regardless of who receives their hand raised.
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