Jack Hermansson has finished two noted grapplers by submission in his last two outings, but against Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza he’s facing a different animal altogether.
‘Jacare’ is a former BJJ world champion and one of the best grapplers in the UFC in any weight class.
That means Hermansson will need to be either supremely confident of not getting caught by something, or insanely daft, to immediately look to engage with the Brazilian on the mat.
We’re likely to see both men standing and trading on the feet, and it makes things more tricky to pick. Hermansson’s striking isn’t that pretty to look at, but it’s effective and accurate, and over an extended period he may be able to break down ‘Jacare’.
But, the Brazilian has heavy hands and can turn the fight on its head with one swing of his fists, or one well-timed takedown. And it’s that ability to dominate on the mat or to connect with a knockout strike on the feet that gives ‘Jacare’ the edge in this one.
Bet of the bout: Jacare to win by KO/TKO – 5/1
There are plenty of heavyweights on the UFC roster, so why do you think the UFC decided to draft in a man who lost back-to-back fights in the octagon before being released to face Greg Hardy this weekend?
A cynic might suggest the UFC are looking to ease their controversial heavyweight into the division after his disqualification loss to Allen Crowder on his octagon debut.
While it’s hard not to have that thought in your mind as you look at the matchup, it’s also worth highlighting that Dmitry Smolyakov’s record – those two UFC defeats aside – has been pretty darned impressive, with each and every one of his nine career wins coming inside one round, and four of those coming inside the first minute.
Hardy came out all guns blazing in the first round on his debut and couldn’t get the job done. He may be well advised to start more steadily this time, too. If he survives the opening round with his gas tank intact, he might be able to get it done in the second.
But, that’s the sensible approach. I expect this fight will be anything but sensible, with someone going to sleep early. Given the nature of the matchmaking, the pick would have to be Hardy.
Bet of the bout: Hardy to win by KO/TKO – 4/9
The welterweight clash between Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira and ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry has Fight of the Night potential, and with both men prepared to put themselves in harm’s way to win fights, it opens up all manner of possibilities.
Perry is the betting underdog heading into this one, but his punch power may prove to be the difference maker here. He’s improving the other aspects of his game with each fight, and against Oliveira he should get the opportunity to unleash some of his heavy-handed striking.
He’s a value pick at 13/5 to win by KO/TKO, and with Oliveira usually more than happy to test his striking in match-ups, Perry could spring something of a shock here.
The only disclaimer here is Perry’s weight. Speaking to the media this week he’s not looking as happy and relaxed as we’ve usually seen from him. If he struggles on the scale, give it a miss. But if he makes weight without looking terrible, he could be nicely placed to cause a small shock.
Bet of the bout: Perry to win by KO/TKO – 13/5
* All odds correct at time of posting.