Initial UFC Miami Card Revealed

The UFC recently revealed the initial lineup for UFC on ESPN 3, which takes place April 27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The rumored main event between middleweight sluggers Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa was not officially announced, but the UFC did confirm a previously-reported light heavyweight bout between Glover Teixeira and Ion Cutelaba, as well as a bantamweight bout between John Lineker and Cory Sandhagen. You can find my recently-posted thoughts on those bouts via the hyperlinks. As for my thoughts on the other newly-announced bouts, you can read them below.

Carla Esparza vs. Livia Renato Souza, UFC on ESPN 3

The most notable of the new matchups announced is a women’s strawweight bout between Carla Esparza and Livia Renata Souza. Esparza (13-6) is 4-4 in the UFC and is a former champion, but she is coming off of a beatdown TKO loss to Tatiana Suarez. Souza (13-1) is 2-0 in the UFC and is a former Invicta champion herself, currently riding a four-fight win streak overall. This is a winnable fight for Esparza but I don’t know how anyone can have faith in her at this point. She might be a small favorite here, but all the upside is with Souza.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Augusto Sakai, UFC on ESPN 3

Heavyweights Andrei Arlovski and Augusto Sakai will meet on this card. Arlovski (27-18, 1 NC) is 6-8 in his latest stint in the UFC and is currently riding a three-fight losing skid with a decision loss to Walt Harris his last time out. Sakai (12-1-1) is coming off of a TKO win over Chase Sherman in his UFC debut and is on a three-fight win streak overall. Arlovski is an easy fade at this point and I expect Sakai to bet a solid favorite here.

Jim Miller vs. Jason Gonzalez, UFC on ESPN 3

Lightweights Jim Miller and Jason Gonzalez are set to do battle. Miller (29-13, 1 NC) is 18-12, 1 NC all-time in the UFC but has fallen on hard times as of late with losses in five of his last six bouts. Gonzalez (11-4) is just 1-2 in the UFC and was finished in both his losses. Miller will be the favorite here based on name value but I don’t know if you can trust him at this point.

Dhiego Lima vs. Court McGee, UFC on ESPN 3

There’s also a welterweight bout between Dhiego Lima and Court McGee. Lima (13-7) is just 2-6 in the UFC but is coming off of a brutal KO win over Chad Laprise at UFC 231. McGee (19-7) is 8-6 in the UFC and defeated Alex Garcia via decision in his last fight. I could see this one going either way, either Lima tests McGee’s fading chin or McGee takes him down and smothers him. Look for a close betting line here, with maybe a slight lean to McGee.

Jessica Penne vs. Jodie Esquibel, UFC on ESPN 3

And finally, women’s strawweights Jessica Penne and Jodie Esquibel have been re-booked for this event as their bout at UFC on ESPN 1 recently fell through after Penne hurt her ankle in warmups. Clearly, it wasn’t a super-serious injury as she will be fighting just over a month later. Penne was a small favorite before the fight was pulled just hours before it was scheduled to occur, and I’d assume the new line will be set right where it left off.

Written by Adam Martin.

Updated Fighter Grades: Post-UFC on ESPN+3

Undefeated Canadian middleweight KB Bhullar talks Unified MMA 36 matchup Mar. 1