The UFC recently revealed the first lineup for UFC on ESPN 3, which takes place April 27 in BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The rumored main event between middleweight sluggers Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa was not 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 can find my recently-posted ideas on these spells through the hyperlinks. In terms of my thoughts about 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 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 winner, but she’s 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 in general. This is a winnable fight for Esparza but that I really don’t understand how anyone can have faith in her at this point. She might be a small popular here, but each of 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 now riding a three-fight losing skid with a choice loss to Walt Harris his out time. Sakai (12-1-1) is coming off of a TKO win over Chase Sherman in his UFC debut and can be about a three-fight win streak in general. Arlovski is a simple fade at this stage and I expect Sakai to wager 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 currently 18-12, 1 NC all time from the UFC but has fallen on hard times as of late with losses in five of the last six bouts. Gonzalez (11-4) is only 1-2 in the UFC and was completed in both his losses. Miller will be the favored here predicated on name worth but I don’t know whether 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 only 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 conquered Alex Garcia via conclusion in his last struggle. I could see this one going either way, either Lima checks McGee’s fading chin or McGee takes down him and smothers him. Look for a close betting line here, with maybe a small 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 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 will be battling just over a month later. Penne was a tiny favorite before the fight was pulled only hours before it was scheduled to happen, and I would presume the new line is going to be set right where it left off.
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