The UFC resumes action with an action-packed fight card at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on April 27, 2019.

UFC on ESPN 3 was supposed to feature the rematch between long-time middleweight contenders Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero as its main event but after the latter pulled out due to injury, Swedish mixed martial artist Jack Hermansson gets his chance to beat a legend in Jacare.

“Fighting" Ronaldo Souza vs Jack Hermansson

Souza is the former Strikeforce middleweight champion who is considered the best grappler in MMA given his multiple world title in grappling and submission tournaments. Jacare is already 39 years old and was 3-3 in his last six bouts before he knocked out Chris Weidman at UFC 230 in his last fight. Overall, he has a record of 26-6-0-1 with 14 submission wins and 8 knockouts. He stands 6-1 with a reach of 72 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter.

Jacare is the UFC’s #3 ranked middleweight and is looking for one more run at the UFC title that is lacking in his trophy room. Souza is perhaps the most feared grappler in the UFC with more than half of his wins coming by submission. Although there are fights when he prefers to strike, Souza’s bread and butter is going for the takedown and looking for the submission. No question, he is going to take Hermansson to the ground here to test his ground defense.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from available as of 4/22/19

Hermansson is an exciting fighter to watch. The Swede has seen five out of his last six fights end in round one and that included his October knockout loss to Thiago Santos. He is 19-4 with 11 knockouts and 5 submission wins. In the UFC he is 6-2 with five wins via stoppage. Hermansson is 6-1 with a reach of 77 ½ inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

He is currently ranked 10th in the UFC middleweight rankings and is beginning to turn heads. The “Joker” has a background in submission wrestling but if you ask him, he considers himself the best ground and pound artist in the game with Khabib Nurmagomedov coming in second. Well that’s his opinion but just ask Thales Leites how Hermansson’s ground and pound really is.

Souza’s 3.01 takedowns landed per 15 minutes is one of the best in the business but when you look at Hermansson, he also lands an average of 2.38 takedowns per 15 minutes at a higher accuracy of 47% against Souza’s 41%. But Hermansson hasn’t fought the monsters that Jacare has faced in his storied career. My bet here is that both will look to take the fight to the ground and try to do what they do best.

Four Souza, this means grappling until he finds a submission opening as Jacare averages 1.7 submission attempts per 15 minutes. As for Hermansson, he will look to take Jacare down and mount the Brazilian so he can display the world’s best ground and pound (according to him). No, I’m not belittling Jack Hermansson’s ground and pound but while it’s good, it’s really not better than Khabib. Against Jacare? I’m not sure if he can win on the ground with Souza and I think Hermansson should try to paw away with strikes given that he has a five inch reach advantage. When I first looked at this fight, I thought maybe this was going to be Hermansson’s coming out party against a faded and ageing Jacare Souza. But if he is serious when he says he wants to take Jacare down, Souza is going to own him there.

Prediction: Jacare Souza by submission

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“Fighting" Dmitrii Smoliakov vs Greg Hardy

This will be the second UFC fight for Hardy whose promotional debut ended disastrously when landed an illegal knee to a downed Allen Crowder. Prior to that loss, Hardy was 3-0 as a pro and 3-0 as an amateur with five of those wins via knockout in under one minute. The 30-year old former NFL Pro-Bowler has a record of 3-1 with three knockouts. Hardy stands 6-5 with a reach of 80 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from as of 4/16/19

Smoliakov returns to the UFC after a win while fighting in a show in Russia. He is 0-2 in the UFC, losing both bouts by stoppage. Smoliakov has a record of 8-2 with 4 knockouts and 4 wins by submission. The 34-year old Russian is 6-2 with a reach of 74 inches and has a boxing and wrestling base.

Hardy is by no means a world beater but Smoliakov hasn’t fought in the UFC since 2017 and in his two fights there, he got submitted and knocked out. The former NFL stars enjoys a significant advantage in size and reach over the Russian so that helps him set up his striking game. Hardy is all striking so far and while that is a limitation, I’m not sure if Smoliakov can take him to the ground without being hit. I think this will be a short workout for Greg Hardy.

Prediction: Greg Hardy by knockout

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“Fighting" Alex Oliveira vs Mike Perry

Oliveira is coming off a submission loss to Gunnar Nelson but prior to that, he submitted Carlos Condit and knocked out Carol Pedersoli Jr. so he’s still a very dangerous fighter. Cowboy stands 5-11 with a reach of 76 inches and has a record of 19-6-1-2 with 12 knockouts and 4 submissions. 24 out of his 28 fights have ended prematurely and his last 8 bouts, win or lose, have ended in a stoppage.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds not yet available as of 4/16/19

After creating controversy and winning his first two UFC bouts by knockout, Mike Perry has been less than Platinum. The 27-year old former boxer has gone 3-4 since including three losses in his last four bouts. In his most recent outing, Perry was submitted by Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 139 last November. Platinum Perry is 5-10 with a reach of 71 inches. He has a record of 12-4 with 11 knockouts.

Perry has good knockout power and Oliveira has been knocked out before but Cowboy also has heavy hands. Given Oliveira’s 5-inch reach advantage, it may be hard for Perry to come in and land his knockout punch. Oliveira is a good counter-puncher but he may want to shoot for a takedown rather than take his chances on his feet. Once Oliveira gets this on the ground, Perry won’t have any answers.

Prediction: Alex Oliveira by decision

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“Fighting" Glover Teixeira vs Ion Cutelaba

Former light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira has alternated wins and losses in his last seven bouts. In his last bout, Teixeira submitted Karl Roberson, who incidentally replaced Ion Cutelaba in the bout after the latter went down with an injury. The 39-year old Teixeira has a record of 28-7 with 17 knockouts and 7 submissions. He stands 6-2 with a reach of 76 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from as of 4/16/19

Up and coming light heavyweight Ion Cutelaba is 3-2 in the UFC but is coming off back to back stoppage victories. Like Teixeira, Cutelaba is a finisher as all but one of his bouts have ended in a stoppage. The Moldovan stands 6-1 with a reach of 75 inches and has a record of 14-3-0-1 with 11 knockouts and 2 submissions.

Teixeira’s been inconsistent as he’s aged but no matter how old he becomes, he won’t lose that punching power. Cutelaba also has that kind of punching power although we haven’t seen him display it against the elites of the UFC. I like Cutelaba here but when it comes to MMA betting, I like the plus money on a proven veteran who can end it with one punch.

Prediction: Glover Teixeira by knockout

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“Fighting" John Lineker vs Cory Sandhagen

Lineker’s game plan is never a secret. The Brazilian comes forward looking to trade punches until someone drops. Hands of Stone has a record of 31-8 with 14 knockouts and 4 submissions. He stands 5-3 with a reach of 67 inches. What makes Lineker scary aside from his freakish power is that he’s never been knocked out despite his come-forward style.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from as of 4/16/19

Sandhagen made his UFC debut at featherweight and won over Austin Arnett. He dropped to bantamweight and engaged Iuri Alcantara in a Fight of the Night winner. He is 10-1 and stands 5-11 with a reach of 70 inches. He was supposed to fight Lineker in January but the latter got injured.

There’s a huge disparity in height here with Sandhagen having an 8-inch height advantage over Lineker but maybe that’s what Lineker wants. He’s not afraid to bulldoze and eat some shots and because he has a low center of gravity, it’s tough to put him down. Lineker meanwhile will have Sandhagen’s body as an easy target. If Sandhagen can use his size to keep Lineker off him, then we have a fight. If not, count another body for Lineker.

Prediction: Jon Lineker via knockout

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