After a trip to Russia last weekend, the UFC returns to the USA this Saturday for a Fight Night card headlined by a middleweight bout between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Jack Hermansson outside of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Souza is favored on the UFC Betting Lines on MyBookie Sportsbook.
UFC on ESPN Jacare vs Hermansson Odds & Expert Predictions
“Ever since I got into the @UFC, I’ve been watching (Jacare Souza’s) fights and watching him as an opponent, and I know his strengths, and I know his weaknesses, and I feel ready for the task.” #UFCFTLauderdale More from Hermansson ⤵️:https://t.co/3hUeh5RCLO— UFC News (@UFCNews) 24 de abril de 2019
- When: Saturday, 5:30 PM ET
- Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.
- TV: ESPN/ESPN2
- Live Stream: ESPN+
The UFC was initially targeting a middleweight bout between former interim middleweight champion Yoel Romero, a 2000 Olympic silver medalist and former world champion in freestyle wrestling, against Paulo Costa. However, then the UFC decided to replace Costa and arrange a rematch between Romero and Souza to serve as the event headliner. The two met previously in December 2015 at UFC 194 with Romero winning via split decision. Then Romero pulled out of this one due to injury.
Souza (26-6) is -190 for this middleweight bout and Hermansson (19-4) +160. Jacare is a former Strikeforce middleweight champion and one of the best grapplers the sport has ever known. Souza comes off a victory over former middleweight champion Chris Weidman last November. Souza finished Weidman (14-4) via TKO at 2:46 of the third round in their middleweight contest, the co-main event of UFC 230 inside Madison Square Garden.
It was a very close fight up until the finish. Souza knocked Weidman down with a heavy right hand, but referee Dan Miragliotta did not immediately step in. Souza threw a couple of more punches and protested to Miragliotta as he did. Weidman weakly grabbed for Souza’s leg, and Miragliotta then waved off the fight.
Souza, who had blood flowing from his nose since midway through the opening round, seemed to fight in bursts throughout the second half as Weidman did well to control him on the feet with stiff jabs and right hooks.
The only thing puzzling about the fight was why Souza, one of the greatest grapplers and submission experts in UFC history, never once attempted a takedown. Although Souza had moments on his feet throughout rocking Weidman with punches, it’s likely he was headed toward a close decision loss thanks to Weidman’s sound boxing and control of distance.
Hermansson is a Swede on a three-fight winning streak. He beat David Branch in March in Philadelphia. Hermansson went on the attack early in the fight, getting in Branch’s face with punches. When they collided, he transitioned to a foot sweep. Branch caught the first one, but the second came so quickly he had little time to react and took a trip south.
As soon as Branch righted himself against the cage, Hermansson had set up a guillotine choke by wrapping the head. When they hit the canvas, all he had to do was cinch his arms and crank his hips, and Branch had nowhere to go. It was Hermansson’s second straight win by submission.
Hardy vs SmolyakovThe main undercard fight is former NFL Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy as a -313 Mybookie.ag favorite over Dmitrii Smolyakov. Hardy (3-1), the former controversial NFL star turned mixed martial artist, lost his Octagon debut in January via disqualification when he landed an illegal knee on Allen Crowder in the second round.
Hardy won his first three MMA matches either via knockout or TKO, including two in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. The 30-year-old played six seasons from 2010 to 2015 with the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys but had some off-field issues.
Smoliakov (8-2) has lost each of his two fights in UFC after an 8-0 record in other promotions. His last appearance was a TKO loss to Cyril Asker at UFC Fight Night 103 in January 2017.
Oliveira vs PerryAt welterweight, Alex Oliveira is a -188 favorite against Mike Perry (+158). Perry (12-4) has lost three of his last four fights – losing decisions to Santiago Ponzinibbio and Max Griffin before edging a grueling and violent battle with Paul Felder. Despite the form, there is still a buzz of anticipation for this fight as fans know Perry will bring his aggressive and exciting style to the cage.
Oliveira (19-5-1) is coming off a brutal loss after Gunnar Nelson split him open l and submitted him with a rear naked choke. This broke up two great performances submitting Carlos Condit and knocking out Carlo Pedersoli Jr, and Oliveira is hoping to get back on track with another finish.