2019 will really provide a huge reshuffle of the upper tier in the Middleweight division. The UFC are reportedly landing a massive rematch between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza on the UFC Fight Night Florida card.
The former three time title chaser, Romero was widely expected to meet another Brazilian in the main event slot, with Paulo Costa replaced by compatriot Souza late last night. The pair originally clashed back in 2015 at UFC 194, with Romero picking up a narrow decision victory after scoring an all important and ultimately tied turning spinning-back fist knockdown on the grappling ace.
Long regarded as one of the most imposing athletes in the promotion, freestyle wrestler Yoel ‘Solider Of God’ Romero brings more to the Octagon than just his incredible grappling ability. The Olympian has incredible power in both hands and hold two flying knee stoppage wins in his UFC career.
Losing both title clashes with current champion Robert Whittaker, the rematch in quite questionable circumstances it has to be noted. Yoel was successful in the Interim Middleweight title clash with former division front runner Luke Rockhold, but his vicious third round knockout was marred by a botched weight cut, subsequently leaving him title-less in Perth.
Questions have been asked regarding the Cuban’s conditioning in the past, case in point his contentious win over Tim Kennedy. Romero’s grappling and transitioning is high level of course, look back to his set ups against Chris Weidman and eventual trip and elbow finish of Lyoto Machida.
A 6th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, similarly to Yoel, Souza excels in one specific martial art but brings so much more to the Octagon.
Another heavy handed striker with a knack for a knockout, Jacaré has 22 stoppage wins in his storied career. A more traversed mixed-martial artist than Romero, Souza began his professional career all the way back in 2003 and has featured in promotions such as DREAM, Jungle Fight and Strikeforce where he held the Middleweight strap.
Yet to ‘earn’ his premier UFC title tilt even after a recent stoppage win over Chris Weidman, the alligator found himself on the wrong end of a rather dubious split decision to Kelvin Gastelum which may have resulted in his installment into the Interim Middleweight clash between Israel Adesanya and Gastelum at UFC 236. The 39 year old doesn’t differentiate between joint or choke submissions per say, with arm triangles, armbars and kimuras aplenty on his eye catching résumé.
Taking place on April 27th from the BB&T Centre, UFC Fight Night Florida features clashes like Glover Teixeira’s return versus streaking contender Ion Cutelaba, a Bantamweight meeting of perennial contender John Lineker and upstart Cody Sandhagen, while the highly controversial former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy makes his second Octagon walk after a disqualification against Allen Crowder.