The UFC has booked a potential middleweight title eliminator for an upcoming spring card down south, and I’ll offer my thoughts on this thrilling new battle in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza 2, UFC on ESPN 3
All of us thought the main event of UFC on ESPN 3 was likely 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 scraped in the card and Romero will rematch rival Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza in 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 new five-round main event.
It was perhaps slightly surprising to see that the UFC publication this rematch at the point of time, together with Romero coming off of a split decision loss to Robert Whittaker in his last fight and Souza that a KO win over Chris Weidman, but looking at the condition of the middleweight division more closely the struggle makes sense. With Kelvin Gastelum combating Israel Adesanya in 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 stay busy in among the sport’s most active branches, and with no other top-ranked contenders available to fight in April, this rematch between Romero and Souza was the best way to go to the UFC.
The first time Romero and Souza fought was back at UFC 194 in December 2015 (the same night Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo), with Romero edging out a narrow split decision. Ever since that time, Romero has gone 2-2 in the Octagon to Whittaker bookmarked by KO wins within Luke Rockhold and the aforementioned Weidman. 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 remain on top 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 from the UFC and has emerged as one of the most devastating knockout artists from the game now, not to mention among the 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, and of course among the best MMA fighters to have not fought for a UFC name.
In terms of the chances with this rematch, I’m anticipating something near a Select Celtics using a slight lean towards Romero because he was training for this particular card and since he won the first fight. Nevertheless, the fight was just 3 rounds, and these additional two rounds could turn out to be the difference in the rematch this time around. Regardless of who gets their hands raised, it is likely to be a fight, however.
Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and MMA Odds Breaker will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the hyperlinks.