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 primary event between middleweight sluggers Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa was not officially announced, 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 find my recently-posted ideas on these bouts via the hyperlinks. In terms of my thoughts on the other 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 that 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 is coming off of a beatdown TKO loss to Tatiana Suarez. Souza (13-1) is 2-0 at the UFC and is a former Invicta champion herself, now riding a four-fight win streak overall. That is a winnable fight for Esparza but that I really don’t understand how anyone can have faith in her at this stage. She might be a tiny favorite 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 fulfill with this card. Arlovski (27-18, 1 NC) is 6-8 in his latest stint at the UFC and is currently riding a three-fight losing skid with a choice loss to Walt Harris his last time out. Sakai (12-1-1) is coming from a TKO win over Chase Sherman in his UFC debut and is about a three-fight win streak in general. Arlovski is an easy fade at this point and I anticipate Sakai to bet 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 in 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 has been finished in his losses. Miller is going to be the favored here predicated on name value but I don’t know whether it’s possible to trust him at this point.
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 from a brutal KO win over Chad Laprise in UFC 231. McGee (19-7) is 8-6 in the UFC and defeated Alex Garcia via decision in his final struggle. 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 slight 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 occasion as their bout at UFC on ESPN 1 recently fell through following Penne hurt her ankle in warmups. Certainly, it was not a super-serious harm as she will be fighting just over a month afterwards. Penne was a small favorite before the fight was pulled only hours before it was scheduled to occur, and I’d presume the new line will be set right where it left off.
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