The UFC travels to the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida for UFC Fight Night: Jacare vs. Hermansson. The main event takes place in the UFC middleweight division where Rolando Souza takes on Jack Hermansson.
At thirty-nine years of age “Jacare” makes the walk for the thirty-second time. He is 2-1over his last three fights. His most recent fight was at UFC 230 where he finished Chris Weidman in the third round. Prior to the Weidman win, Souza lost a split decision to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 224. Of Souza’s twenty-six career wins, only four made to the judge’s scorecards.
Jack Hermansson returns to the cage following a quick turnaround. Hermansson subbed David Branch in forty-nine seconds less than a month ago at UFC Philadelphia. The Branch win was Hermansson’s third in a row. Of the thirty-year-olds nineteen career victories, sixteen ended inside the distance. A win here for “The Joker” will be the biggest of his career and catapult him into the top five.
The co-main takes place in the UFC heavyweight division where Greg Hardy goes up against Dmitrii Smoliakov. Greg Hardy returns to the cage after losing his UFC debut against Allen Crowder at UFC Brooklyn. Hardy lost by disqualification after landing an illegal knee in the second round. While much has been said and written about Hardy’s past, which you can read here on mmatorch.com, the UFC is clearly in the Greg Hardy business by putting him back in the co-main slot.
Dmitrii Smoliakov will make the walk for the third time under the UFC banner. He lost his previous two fights for the promotion. His most recent fight was at Aslan Challenge in January where beat Evgeniy Bova via submission in the first round. The Russian born fighter went 8-0 on the regional circuit, but 0-2 on the big stage. This is a peculiar signing for the UFC considering both his record in the promotion and the fact he was stopped in both losses. It’s obvious he is being brought in as a sacrificial lamb to make Hardy look good.
The third fight on the main card is an interesting match-up between Alex Oliveira and Mike Perry. Oliveira was on a modest two-fight win streak until he got caught in a rear naked choke and submitted by Gunnar Nelson at UFC 231. Oliveira is always dangerous considering he has sixteen finishes in nineteen career victories.
Mike Perry is also dangerous racking up eleven wins via knockout in twelve career victories. However, the blueprint might be out on how to beat Perry considering his 1-3 record over his previous four fights. His most recent fight was at UFC Denver where he got subbed at the hands of Donald Cerrone via armbar in the first round.
Also on the main card UFC veteran Glover Teixeira takes on Ion Cutelaba, John Lineker faces Corey Sandhagen in what will no doubt be an excellent scrap, and Roosevelt Roberts vs. Thomas Gifford.
The main card will stream on ESPN+ starting at 8 PM (CST). The prelims start 6 PM (CST) on ESPN with the early prelims beginning at 4:30 PM (CST) on ESPN 2.
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all of my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Ronaldo Souza (26-6, 1 NC) vs. Jack Hermansson (19-4) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Souza -200; Hermansson +170
Pick: Souza by decision. I think Souza will be too much for Hermansson.
Greg Hardy (3-1) vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov (9-2) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Hardy -340; Smoliakov +280
Pick: Hardy by (T)KO. This should be a one-sided win for Hardy. However, knowing Hardy’s lack of fight IQ and the steep price this is a hard pass for me.
Alex Oliveira (19-6-1, 2 NC) vs. Mike Perry (12-4) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Oliveira -170; Perry +150
Pick: Oliveira by submission. I don’t think Perry is a skilled MMA fighter. Sure, his fights are exciting and he carries one-punch knockout power. As long as Oliveira can avoid the Perry haymaker, I think he gets the finish in the third round.
Glover Teixeira (28-7) vs. Ion Cutelaba (14-3, 1 NC) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Teixeira -110; Cutelaba +110
Pick: Teixeira by submission. I’ve been guilty of writing Teixeira off too many times in the recent past. While this fight looks like the UFC is setting Cutelaba up to look good, I think Glover still has something left in the tank. I’m ultimately going to pass on this one. Cutelaba has knockout power and Glover’s chin is always a question mark.
John Lineker (31-8) vs. Corey Sandhagen (10-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Lineker -140; Sandhagen +120
Pick: Lineker by (T)KO. I believe Sandhagen is the real deal. However, he hasn’t fought the high level of competition Lineker has. I think Lineker exposes Sandhagen here.
Roosevelt Roberts (7-0) vs. Thomas Gifford (14-7, 2 NC) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Roberts -450; Gifford +360
Pick: Roberts by submission. At that price, I’ll pass.
Ben Saunders (22-11-2) vs. Takashi Sato (14-2) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Sato -200; Saunders +180
Pick: Sato by (T)KO.
Andrei Arlovski (27-17, 2 NC) vs. Agusto Sakai (12-1-1) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Sakai -140; Arlovski +120
Pick: Sakai by decision. This one can go either way.
Carla Esparza (13-6) vs. Virna Jandiroba (14-0) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Jandiroba -110; Esparza -110
Pick: Jandiroba by decision.
Gilbert Burns (14-3) vs. Mike Davis (6-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Burns -250; Davis +200
Pick: Burns by (T)KO.
Jim Miller (29-13, 1 NC) vs. Jason Gonzalez (11-4) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Miller -145; Gonzalez +125
Pick: Gonzalez by decision.
Angela Hill (8-6) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-4) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Hill -600; Esquibel +450
Pick: Esquibel by decision. I think there’s value in backing the underdog here.
Court McGee (19-7) vs. Dhiego Lima (13-7) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: McGee -160; Lima +140
Pick: McGee by decision. McGee’s endless motor should win out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lima catches him and gets the knockout.
Enjoy the fights!