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 primary event between middleweight sluggers Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa wasn’t officially declared, but the UFC did affirm 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 may locate my recently-posted ideas on these bouts via the hyperlinks. As for my thoughts about another newly-announced bouts, you can read them below.
Carla Esparza vs. Livia Renato Souza, UFC on ESPN 3
The most noteworthy of this new matchups declared 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’s coming from a beatdown TKO loss to Tatiana Suarez. Souza (13-1) is currently 2-0 at the UFC and is a former Invicta champion herself, currently riding a four-fight win series in general. That is a winnable fight for Esparza but that I don’t understand 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 with this card. Arlovski (27-18, 1 NC) is 6-8 in his most recent stint at the UFC and is currently riding a three-fight losing skid with a decision loss to Walt Harris his out time. Sakai (12-1-1) is coming from a TKO win over Chase Sherman in his UFC debut and can be on a three-fight win streak overall. Arlovski is an easy fade at this stage and I expect Sakai to wager a good 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 from the UFC but has fallen on hard times as of late with reductions in five of the last six bouts. Gonzalez (11-4) is only 1-2 in the UFC and was finished in his losses. Miller will be the favorite here based on name value but I do not know if it’s possible to trust him at this stage.
Dhiego Lima vs. Court McGee, UFC on ESPN 3
There is 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. Start looking for a close betting line here, with perhaps a small lean to McGee.
Jessica Penne vs. Jodie Esquibel, UFC on ESPN 3
And lastly, women’s strawweights Jessica Penne and Jodie Esquibel happen to be re-booked for this particular event as their bout at UFC on ESPN 1 recently fell through after Penne hurt her ankle in warmups. Certainly, it was not a super-serious injury as she is going to be battling just over a month afterwards. Penne was a tiny favored before the struggle was pulled only hours before it was scheduled to occur, and I’d assume the new line will be put right where it left off.
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