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The UFC has reserved a potential middleweight title eliminator for an approaching spring card down south, and I’ll give my thoughts on this exciting new fight in the present 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 be a five-round middleweight fight between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. However, there’s been a change of plans. According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Costa was scratched in the card and Romero will rematch rival Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza in 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 perhaps slightly surprising to observe that the UFC publication this rematch at this point of time, 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 condition of the middleweight division more closely the struggle is logical. With Kelvin Gastelum combating Israel Adesanya in UFC 236 for its interim middleweight title, and 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 among the game’s most active divisions, 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 in UFC 194 at December 2015 (the same night Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo), with Romero edging out a narrow split decision. Ever since then, Romero has gone 2-2 in the Octagon with a set of decision losses to Whittaker. Souza, meanwhile, has gone 4-2 since with finishes within 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 also the winner of this bout should 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 in the game now, and of course among their most accomplished wrestlers. Souza (26-6, 1 NC) is 8-3 at the UFC and is one of the most well-rounded fighters at the branch, not to mention among the best MMA fighters ever to have not fought for a UFC title.
In terms of the chances with this rematch, I am expecting 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. But the fight was only three rounds, and these extra two rounds could prove to be the gap in the rematch this time around. Irrespective of who receives their hands raised, it’s going to be a fight that is fantastic, however.
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