Last week, we heard the unfortunate news that Yoel Romero was outside of his UFC on ESPN 3 major event middleweight rematch with Ronaldo Souza, that had been a replacement for Paulo Costa. At that point, it was unclear who the UFC matchmakers would be able to call on short notice. The matchmakers have found their man, and I'll offer my thoughts on this brand new principal event below.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Jack Hermansson, UFC on ESPN 3
The new principal event of UFC on ESPN 3 will be a five-round middleweight involving between"Jacare" and Jack Hermansson, who took the fight on short notice. The card takes place April 27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. ESPN first reported that the matchup, noting that the UFC has assured"Jacare" will get a title shot should be victorious over Hermansson.
Souza (26-6, 1 NC) is 9-3 overall in the UFC and he's coming off of a vicious KO win over Chris Weidman in UFC 230. Souza is arguably the best fighter in UFC history to haven't fought for a name, but with a win here on Hermansson it would be hard for the UFC to deny him once again. Hermansson (19-4) is 6-2 overall in the UFC and is currently riding a three-fight win streak that includes a first-round submission over David Branch just last weekend at UFC on ESPN 2. He's quietly become one of the very best middleweights in the Octagon but he just wants a chance to prove he's an elite fighter. With a win over Souza, he certainly would do just that.
Even though Souza vs. Romero 2 would have been the ideal matchup, this really is a fine replacement bout looking at the conditions. Souza will definitely be preferred here owing to his UFC experience and star-studded restart, Hermansson is a live dog in this fight and has a chance to win. Pay close attention to the gambling line when it comes out, because if the chances are good enough it could possibly be well worth it to have a shot on Hermansson at plus money.
Alexander Yakovlev vs. Alex da Silva Coelho, UFC Fight Night 149
Only a little update here to the forthcoming UFC Fight Night 149 card, which takes place April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. Due to an injury to Teemu Packalen, Alexander Yakovlev will face UFC newcomer Alex da Silva Coelho in a lightweight bout. Globo broke the information.
Yakovlev (23-8-1) is 2-4 in the UFC but has not fought since a 2016 submission loss to Zak Cummings. He's actually on a two-fight losing skid right now and has not won a fight because defeating George Sullivan because 2016, so he desperately needs to find a win on his home turf here in Russia. Coelho (20-1). Has collected a tremendous record since making his expert MMA introduction in 2014, albeit against a lower level of competition in promotions such as Brave CF. He has the advantage of being much more active than Yakovlev, but given the experience of Yakovlev and his home-town benefit he'll likely be preferred here.
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