Last week, we heard the unfortunate news that Yoel Romero was out of his UFC on ESPN 3 main event middleweight rematch with Ronaldo Souza, who himself was a replacement for Paulo Costa. At that point, it was unclear who the UFC matchmakers would be able to call up on short notice. Well, the matchmakers have found their man, and I’ll give my thoughts on this new main event below.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Jack Hermansson, UFC on ESPN 3
The new main event of UFC on ESPN 3 will be a five-round middleweight between 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 the matchup, noting that the UFC has promised “Jacare” will get a title shot should he 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 at UFC 230. Souza is arguably the greatest fighter in UFC history to have never fought for a title, but with a win here over 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 has quietly become one of the top middleweights in the Octagon but he just needs a chance to prove that he’s an elite fighter. With a win over Souza, he certainly would do just that.
Although Souza vs. Romero 2 would have been the ideal matchup, this is a fine replacement bout considering the circumstances. Souza will definitely be favored here owing to his UFC experience and star-studded resume, Hermansson is a live dog in this fight and absolutely has a chance to win. Pay close attention to the betting line when it comes out, because if the odds are good enough it may be worth it to take a shot on Hermansson at plus money.
Alexander Yakovlev vs. Alex da Silva Coelho, UFC Fight Night 149
Just a small update here to the upcoming UFC Fight Night 149 card, which takes place April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Due to an injury to Teemu Packalen, Alexander Yakovlev will now face UFC newcomer Alex da Silva Coelho in a lightweight bout. Globo broke the news.
Yakovlev (23-8-1) is 2-4 in the UFC but hasn’t fought since a 2016 submission loss to Zak Cummings. He’s actually on a two-fight losing skid at the moment and hasn’t won a fight since defeating George Sullivan since 2016, so he desperately needs to get a win on his home turf here in Russia. Coelho (20-1). has put together a tremendous record since making his pro MMA debut in 2014, albeit against a lower level of competition in promotions like Brave CF. He does have the advantage of being far more active than Yakovlev, but given the experience of Yakovlev and his home-town advantage he will likely be favored here.