Middleweights Yoel Romero and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will headline UFC on ESPN 3 on April 27, 2019 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
This will be the second meeting between these middleweight monsters. Romero and Souza fought at the undercard of UFC 194 which was headlined by Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo. In that bout, Romero beat Jacare by split decision. Of course Souza didn’t agree with the result and has been asking for a rematch since then. It’s been four years since that first bout and these fighters have aged since they first met but as they say, it’s always better late than never. Get some UFC betting tips here.
Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero
Yoel Romero is the UFC middleweight division’s #1 ranked contender and has fought for the title in his last three fights but hasn’t been lucky enough to win the belt. Time is running out as Romero is aging fast although his athleticism hasn’t shown signs of slowing down just yet.
The Soldier of God stands 6-feet tall and has a reach of 73 inches while fighting out of the southpaw stance. Romero has a record of 13-3 with 11 wins by way of knockout. The 41-year old Romero is just 1-2 in his last three fights with both losses coming at the hands of UFC middleweight champion Robert Whitaker. In between those losses, Romero knocked out Luke Rockhold at UFC 221. In his last bout, Romero was beaten via split decision by Robert Whitaker at UFC 225.
Romero is a very interesting fighter. Despite being an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, the Cuban has preferred to keep the fight on his feet and trade with his opponents. But it has worked for Romero because of his unbelievable athleticism and despite his age. He is one of the most explosive and strongest fighters in the promotion and his reaction time is close to incredible. Romero doesn’t stand and brawl though. He picks his spots and explodes in spurts, often knocking out his opponents or at least just hurting them with huge punches.
Yoel Romero vs Jacare Souza Odds
Odds from Bovada as of 4/01/19
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Ronaldo Souza was one of the most feared fighters in the promotion and he wasn’t just a monster on the ground but he was a destroyer on his feet. But time flies so fast and like Romero, Souza is much older now. Jacare is looking for his first crack at UFC gold, and this might be his last.
Jacare isn’t much younger at 39 years old. Souza is 6-1 and has a reach of 72 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter. He is 4-2 since his loss to Romero at UFC 194. All of his four wins during that period were stoppages, including three knockouts. His losses came against Robert Whitaker and Kelvin Gastelum. In his most recent bout, Jacare knocked out former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 230
Jacare is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belter, one of the best BJJ practitioners in the business. Like Romero, he is incredibly strong and with legit knockout power and he also has elite takedown abilities. But Souza has looked fragile in the last two years. Losses to the younger Robert Whitaker and Kelvin Gastelum have proven that he’s slowed down and not the monster he used to be when he was Strikeforce champion.
Keys For Both Fighters
If he only made weight, Yoel Romero would have been UFC middleweight champion already. The Soldier of God missed weight against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 so despite knocking out Rockhold, the belt has been elusive. Weight will be something to look out for here as Romero has missed weight in his last two fights. There were rumors that he would be moving up to 205 pounds, but he’s staying at middleweight, at least for this rematch
The key for Souza here would be to put pressure on Yoel Romero. While Romero is a knockout artist, he isn’t a brawler. The Cuban prefers to fight in range, maintain distance, pick his spots to explode and move forward with a sudden burst of attack. We’ve seen Romero fade in the past after getting pressured. But putting pressure on the Cuban doesn’t mean just on the feet, it’s also with takedowns, which tire him.
As for Romero, he needs to keep his distance from Souza because if Souza gets a hold of him, Jacare might take the fight down and work his submission game. Yoel is an Olympic wrestler and an excellent grappler. But why take his chance grappling with Souza when he can knock him out with a single burst.
Romero is 41 but after his last fight, he didn’t look as old as his age suggest because he came close at knocking out Robert Whitaker and it took the champ a split decision at UFC 225. But Romero hasn’t fought since that win. Meanwhile, Souza has fought twice since Romero’s last bout and it will be interesting to see what the long layoff has done to Romero.
Souza is the opposite as he’s looked old and like he’s lost a step or two, especially on his feet. Despite that, you can’t take him for granted because of his submission skills. Look for these two to be cautious in a feel-out opening round. If this fight is ending in Round 1, it’s going to be Romeo. But If Souza can take Romero down, he should be able to put him to sleep or stop him with a vicious ground and pound.
This was an exciting scrap four years ago but I’m not so sure about this right now with both fighters much older. Given recent form, I like Yoel Romero to win here. Souza’s produced a knockout in his last six wins but as I said earlier, he looks like he’s lost the fear factor. I think Romero walks home with a win here. I’m looking at a stoppage maybe in Round 1 but more possibly in the middle rounds. I’m picking Yoel Romero to stop Jacare Souza on April 27 2019.