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UFC Fort Lauderdale Predictions and Picks: The Body Lock predicts “Jacare” vs. Hermansson

UFC Fort Lauderdale takes place Saturday, April 27, from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The preliminary portion of the card will be split up into to groups, the Early Prelims on ESPN2, the Prelims on ESPN, and the Main Card on ESPN+.

The six-fight main card features some quality matchups, and The Body Lock is here to break down those fights with insight from 12 of our expert writers.

Roosevelt Roberts strikes Darrell Horcher with a right high kick at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale
Roosevelt Roberts strikes Darrell Horcher with a right high kick at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale (UFC/Getty Images)

Roosevelt Roberts vs. Thomas Gifford

In the first bout of the main card, Contender Series winner Roosevelt Roberts (7-0, 1-0 UFC) will look to keep his perfect record intact against UFC debutant and Factory X product, Thomas Gifford (17-7, 2 NC MMA, UFC debut).

Picking Roberts: Sriram Muralidaran, Michael Fiedel, Drake Riggs, Shane Connelly, Ahmad Tahriri, Patrick Auger, Nick Cowie, Ollie Carlson, Jay Cranford, Rhodri Morgan, Brandon Sibcy, Jake Nichols

Picking Gifford:


Sriram Muralidaran

No strong opinions here, I’ve seen Roberts before and I can’t say the same on Gifford.

Roberts, submission, Round 1.

Michael Fiedel

Thomas Gifford is a new man since joining Factory X. He’s unbeaten in his last six, and he’s coming off of a real ‘Fight of the Year’ against Chris Brown at V3 Fights. I think he poses a much bigger threat to Roberts than most think. With that said, I do think Robert’s all-around game is coming along great. I think Roberts will be able to ward off an aggressive Gifford to outpoint him on the scorecards.

Roberts, unanimous decision.

Drake Riggs

Even though Gifford is on a good streak of his own, this still just kind of feels like Roberts’ fight to lose.

Roberts, (T)KO, Round 1.

Shane Connelly

The undefeated Roosevelt Roberts has finished every fight of his professional career. Thomas Gifford is making his debut for this bout, and I can’t see him finding a way to get past Roberts’ well-rounded skill set.

Roberts, submission, Round 2.

Ahmad Tahriri

Two guys with submission skills, but Roberts is just carrying a lot more momentum going into this fight.

Roberts, submission, Round 1.

Patrick Auger

There’s a reason you’ve never heard of Thomas Gifford, while Roosevelt Roberts was listed as a future star by Dana White last month.

Roberts, submission, Round 1.

Nick Cowie

It is a safe bet that anyone with “‘Bout Money” and “Mob” tattooed across his chest is a tough guy, but Roosevelt Roberts is more than that. He is a complete mixed martial artist with a dangerous striking game and sneaky submissions. I see his well-rounded attack being too much for the newcomer, Thomas Gifford.

Roberts, TKO, Round 1.

Ollie Carlson

Roberts looked very good, both in his fight on Contender Series and in his UFC debut last year. I know practically nothing about Gifford, so I’ll say Roberts via finish.

Roberts, TKO, Round 2.

Jay Cranford

Between the two young fighters, they total 24 victories, with only one coming by decision. Both fighters are ready to make names for themselves and will come out with intensity. This fight can end in any number of ways, but I’m looking for Roberts to land a round 3 TKO.

Roberts, TKO, Round 3.

Rhodri Morgan

Roosevelt Roberts’ young career in MMA is as impressive as his name, looking almost untroubled through his unblemished 7-0 record. But he needs to beware of Gifford who boasts an incredible 13 submission wins. Dimensionally, Gifford and Roberts match up almost identically so we’re set for a stand-up battle that will likely decide the result. I’m taking Roberts by decision.

Roberts, unanimous decision.

Brandon Sibcy

Both of these guys are scrappy in scrambles and can lock on a submission out of nowhere. But looking at their overall skills, Roosevelt is the more well-rounded fighter. He also has the bigger show experience; competing in the UFC, Bellator and on the Contender Series in the last year and a half.

Roberts, unanimous decision.

Jake Nichols

An interesting clash. Roberts is a promising young fighter who usually hunts for takedowns, and he’ll be facing a fighter who typically accepts the takedown in order to chase a submission opportunity. Those takedowns could lead to dangerous situations for Roberts, so it’ll be interesting to see how those play out. Most likely, however, is that Roberts top pressure is too good and he’ll slice past Gifford’s guard and beat him up with ground and pound. Don’t think Gifford makes it out of this one.

Roberts, TKO, Round 1.

John Lineker of Brazil walks to the Octagon to face TJ Dillashaw in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 207 event
John Lineker walks to the Octagon to face TJ Dillashaw in their bantamweight bout during UFC 207 (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen

In a fight many have pegged as a soon-to-be “Fight of the Night”, bantamweight fan-favorite John Lineker (31-8 MMA, 12-3 UFC) is set to slug it out with surging, exciting bantamweight prospect Cory Sandhagen (10-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC).

Picking Lineker: Sriram Muralidaran, Michael Fiedel, Drake Riggs, Shane Connelly, Ahmad Tahriri, Patrick Auger, Brandon Sibcy, Jake Nichols

Picking Sandhagen: Nick Cowie, Ollie Carlson, Jay Cranford, Rhodri Morgan


Sriram Muralidaran

I really like Sandhagen as a prospect. He’s great. That said, Lineker is a lot more proven, and he’s the type of fighter it takes a legitimately elite guy to beat. Alcantara running Sandhagen to the fence doesn’t bode well at all for Cory facing a golem trying to punch through your ribs.

Lineker, (T)KO, Round 3.

Michael Fiedel

Cory Sandhagen has been nothing short of tremendous in his budding UFC career. Each one of his fights has been must-see TV. Still, there are very few fighters who hit as hard – pound-for-pound – as John Lineker. I can see Lineker pressuring the larger Sandhagen en route to a third-round TKO victory.

Lineker, (T)KO, Round 3.

Drake Riggs

Sandhagen has proven to be a phenomenal and legit prospect. So, now, he gets his first big test as he’s thrown into the Top 5 against Lineker… which is a bit rough. Lineker has one of the best chins in all of MMA – if not the best – and he never stops coming forward, which should lead to some fun exchanges. But it won’t be the smartest approach for Sandhagen. If he hopes to win, he’ll have to get the action to the ground. Which is easier said than done as well.

Lineker, unanimous decision.

Shane Connelly

It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen John Lineker in the cage. You have to respect Cory Sandhagen for signing the dotted line to face “Hands of Stone” not once but twice. I believe Lineker will be able to out-strike him.

Lineker, unanimous decision.

Ahmad Tahriri

I won’t pretend I know enough of about either fighter to make an informed pick on this one. I think we haven’t seen enough to know Cory Sandhagen’s potential which makes it difficult to bet for or against him.

Lineker, unanimous decision.

Patrick Auger

Sandhagen has been impressive on his run in the UFC, but this is a huge step up in competition for him. John “Hands of Stone” Lineker has an iron chin and as his name suggests, knockout power galore. Given the fact Sandhagen faced some adversity early on in his last bout and his a natural featherweight, I think he may be in for the long nap on this one.

Lineker, KO, Round 2.

Nick Cowie

John Lineker is always must-see TV but he goes up against a promising young contender in this one. Both of these men are as tough as nails and will not break under each other’s pressure. This is a huge test for Sandhagen but with an eight-inch height advantage and some very dangerous knees and kicks, I see him connecting at some point.

Sandhagen, TKO, Round 2.

Ollie Carlson

Lineker is incredible if he can draw his opponents into a brawl. However, I think Sandhagen is too good and too clever to let that happen. His length is a major asset in this division, and I expect him to snipe Lineker for the opening two rounds before getting him to the ground and submitting him late on.

Sandhagen, submission, Round 3.

Jay Cranford

Expect this fight to be an all-out brawl. Despite being a former flyweight and having an eight-inch height disadvantage, John Linker has devastating power. However, Cory Sandhagen is an emerging force in the division and is becoming a well-rounded fighter. He’d be wise to use his height advantage in grappling exchanges to avoid Linker’s power.

Sandhagen, unanimous decision.

Rhodri Morgan

This is Sandhagen’s coming out party. Lineker is the bantamweight division’s longstanding gatekeeper, a win over him opens the road to a title shot. Lineker’s role is well-deserved, he’s a gritty, tenacious striker who puts a relentless pace on his opponents. But Sandhagen’s grappling prowess has seen him long-touted a future champion and as his striking progresses, this prediction looks all the more likely. It will prove Sandhagen’s toughest test to date, but I see him getting the win through 3rd round submission.

Sandhagen, submission, Round 3.

Brandon Sibcy

Sandhagen has continually impressed me in his UFC run. The 27-year-old likely has a very bright future in the sport but I don’t know if he’s ready for a guy like Lineker right now. Lineker is 8-1 in the last five years with his only loss coming to TJ Dillashaw. I expect an exciting scrap that’ll see Lineker getting inside and beating up on that long body of Sandhagen.

Lineker, unanimous decision.

Jake Nichols

Violence. Pure violence. Sandhagen’s performance against Mario Bautista highlighted his superb grappling ability, but he’ll up against the wall (quite literally) at UFC Fight Night 150. Lineker’s blistering pace and forward pressure may be too much for Sandhagen in this one. Lineker’s hooks to the body before coming upstairs can be absolutely brutal. If he’s unable to get Sandhagen out of there early, those body shots will take their toll.

Lineker, TKO, Round 3.

Glover Teixeira (R) of Brazil throws a punch against Jared Cannonier (L) of United Statesin their light heavyweight bout during UFC 208
Glover Teixeira throws a punch against Jared Cannonier during UFC 208 (Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)

Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cutelaba

Previously scheduled for UFC on ESPN+ 1, this matchup between perennial light heavyweight contender, Glover Teixeria (28-7 MMA, 11-5 UFC), and heavy-handed prospect, Ion Cutelaba (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC), will finally go down at UFC Fort Lauderdale.

Picking Teixeira: Drake Riggs, Ahmad Tahriri, Patrick Auger, Nick Cowie, Jay Cranford, Brandon Sibcy, Jake Nichols

Picking Cutelaba: Sriram Muralidaran, Michael Fiedel, Shane Connelly, Ollie Carlson, Rhodri Morgan

Sriram Muralidaran

Teixeira is declining *extremely* rapidly, and that means that the limitations that were always in his game are becoming more dangerous to him without athleticism/durability; could just be a rerun of Teixeira/Roberson, but Glover surviving that scary spot doesn’t happen most of the time, and Cutelaba is more potent in the clinch than a middleweight.

Cutelaba, KO, Round 1.

Michael Fiedel

Aging veteran takes on rising, power-punching prospect to solidify his spot at the top of the division. It’s a formula we’ve seen time and time again. Now, Teixeira did stave off that kind of talk with a win over a dangerous Karl Roberson, but I think the larger Cutelaba will be able to take out Teixeira early, likely with a vicious flurry.

Cutelaba, (T)KO, Round 1.

Drake Riggs

Glover is still kickin’ strong. Now in a clear ‘gatekeeper’ position, he’ll be looking to stop Ion Cutelaba’s momentum. With his chin in question, Glover will need to avoid the big shots Cutelaba will look for. I think the Brazilian’s fight IQ is too high to overly-slug it out with Cutelaba, thus leading to him taking things to the ground, where he’ll tire his opponent out en route to a submission or decision.

Teixeira, submission, Round 2.

Shane Connelly

Ion Cutelaba has the opportunity to add a UFC mainstay to his resume in this fight. Glover Teixeira’s recent fights have shown he still has what it takes to fend off up-and-comers, but he can’t hang with the best of the light heavyweight division. Cutelaba could change that.

Cutelaba, KO, Round 2.

Ahmad Tahriri

I feel like we are experiencing the rise/backlash of the old-heads, so I’m sticking with the O.G. Teixeira.

Teixeira, submission, Round 2.

Patrick Auger

It seems like Father Time has caught up with Teixeira, as he was handily beaten by Corey Anderson and struggled a bit before rallying against Karl Roberson, a middleweight who had moved up to face him. At 25 years old Cutelaba is on the other end of the career spectrum, having seemingly found his groove and knocking out his last two opponents. The odds have Cutelaba slightly favored, but I think Teixeira can turn back the clock at least one more time.

Teixeira, unanimous decision.

Nick Cowie

Ion Cutelaba has a lot of promise with credentials in sambo, judo, and wrestling to complement his dangerous striking. However, against top opponents in the UFC, he has faltered, picking up losses to Misha Cirkunov and Jared Cannonier. Despite his status as an underdog in this fight, I still consider the older Teixeira a top contender and consider this fight an even match. I’ll side with the experience of the Brazilian.

Teixeira, unanimous decision.

Ollie Carlson

Ion Cutelaba has already shown his ridiculous power, finishing his last two fights via TKO/KO in the first round. However, he also possesses solid wrestling and I expect that to play an important factor in this fight as he will likely prevent Teixeira from using his Jiu-Jitsu and finish the Brazilian late in the first round.

Cutelaba, TKO, Round 1.

Jay Cranford

Ion Cutelaba has the potential, at 3-2 in the UFC he is coming off back-to-back KO victories. But, at 14 years his older, Teixeira has shown us his durability time and time again. Cutelaba will come out swinging, but Teixeira will find a submission in round 2.

Teixeira, submission, Round 2.

Rhodri Morgan

It seems like every Glover Teixeira fight is his swansong out of the sport. Recent losses to the divisions best affirm this, and yet, as he scores wins against mid-tier light heavyweights, it seems enough to keep his fire for competition alive. Cutelaba meanwhile is the young buck on the rise. “The Hulk” is a world-class Sambo practitioner and packs legitimate one-punch knockout power. It’s hard to see Cutelaba not coming out on top here, and maybe it would provide Teixeira the closure he needs to retire and look back on an incredible career.

Cutelaba, TKO, Round 1.

Brandon Sibcy

Nearing 40, Teixeira definitely has some fight miles on him at this point. While he did survive some heavy shots from Karl Roberson in his last fight, that’s not a game you want to play against a guy with the one-shot KO power that Cutelaba posses. The good thing for Texeira is he has all the skills to get this one to the ground and work over the Moldovan fighter.

Texeira, submission, Round 1.

Jake Nichols

Ion Cutelaba’s got that freakishly strong build but not a whole lot of technique to go with it. We were all impressed by his super-fast KO win against Luis Henrique da Silva but who knows if that really highlights anything of importance. One major concern is that Teixeira is now 39-years-old. While that might impact his chances against better opposition, that likely won’t be a factor against Cutelaba. I’m expecting relatively easy takedowns for Teixeira and an easy decision win. But with the opportunity to tie a record for most stoppages in light heavyweight history, will he actively hunt the submission/knockout finish? Maybe.

Teixeira, submission, Round 2.

Mike Perry (R) sends Hyun Gyu Lim to the canvas
Mike Perry sends Hyun Gyu Lim to the canvas during their welterweight bout at UFC 202 (Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Mike Perry vs. Alex Oliveira

If the Lineker/Sandhagen matchup isn’t the ‘Fight of the Night’, this welterweight madness is sure to be the war fans expect. Fan-favorite brawler Mike Perry (12-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) takes on Brazilian “Cowboy” and excitement machine, Alex Oliveira (20-6-1, 2 NC MMA, 9-4, 1 NC UFC).

Picking Perry: Michael Fiedel, Drake Riggs, Shane Connelly, Nick Cowie, Ollie Carlson, Rhodri Morgan

Picking Oliveira: Sriram Muralidaran, Ahmad Tahriri, Patrick Auger, Jay Cranford, Brandon Sibcy, Jake Nichols


Sriram Muralidaran

Coin-flippy fight, but Oliveira is a better athlete; he’s a better grappler, and he’s better at space. Perry ruins him in the clinch, but Perry doesn’t have a dedicated clinch entry game anyway.

Oliveira KO, Round 1.

Michael Fiedel

This is quite possibly one of the most violent pairings the UFC could’ve put together at welterweight. Well, any fight with either of these two is. Given the absurd violence potential in this one, anything might happen. However, I think Perry’s granite chin gives him the edge in what I imagine will be an all-out slugfest.

Perry, (T)KO, Round 3.

Drake Riggs

This fight is kind of a toss-up, as it will be wild while it lasts. If there are two things we know for sure, it’s that both guys are finishers, and secondly, Perry is more durable than Oliveira… But then, Oliveira is more well-rounded. In the end, Perry’s extended training at JacksonWink should aid in his development, and I just think the biggest key here will be that durability in his favor, as it will be surprising if they don’t just trade non-stop.

Perry, (T)KO, Round 1.

Shane Connelly

Mike Perry gets another shot at a “Cowboy.” The Florida native is in desperate need of a win after putting up a 1-3 record in his last four fights. Alex Oliveira could give him trouble, but Perry’s growth since landing at Jackson-Wink gives me hope for him.

Perry, unanimous decision.

Ahmad Tahriri

Given that Perry lost to the last Cowboy he fought, I have him losing this fight as well. Plus, how can you bet against someone that survived a grenade explosion?

Oliveria, unanimous decision.

Patrick Auger

Unless Mike Perry developed a solid ground game in the past 5 months or Oliveria inexplicably feels like brawling, I foresee another “Platinum” tap out.

Oliveira, submission, Round 1.

Nick Cowie

The key to a Mike Perry win is an opponent who will stand and bang with him like Felder or Ellenberger did. If we learned anything from his fight with Yancy Medeiros, “Cowboy” Oliveira is not afraid to take a shot for every one he gives. To use Perry’s own words, both of these fighters are blue belts in jiu-jitsu, but black belts with these hands. It’s the perfect storm to get Perry back on track.

Perry, TKO, Round 3.

Ollie Carlson

Perry’s last outing showed some signs of improvement technically, but some obvious weaknesses in his fight IQ. This time, I don’t think he’ll make the same mistakes. I expect him to keep the fight standing, take some shots from the powerful ‘Cowboy’, but ultimately do enough to win a hard-fought decision.

Perry, unanimous decision.

Jay Cranford

This has FOTN potential written all over it. For the second time in as many fights, Mike Perry faces another Cowboy, and just like last time, experience will win out.

Oliveira, submission, Round 3.

Rhodri Morgan

No way around it, if you like MMA, you probably like Perry. He may be too much for some and I don’t agree with some of his antics but can’t deny his unapologetic authenticity and genuine love for a dust-up. Cowboy’s cut from the same cloth, only being stopped once in 28 fights by strikes. My bet for a fight of the night, and with a new contract and fresh nuptials in the books, Perry’s going to come like a man possessed and will hand Oliveira his second ever TKO loss in the 2nd.

Perry, TKO, Round 2.

Brandon Sibcy

The blueprint is out there for defeating Perry. All Oliveira has to do is stay moving on his feet, avoid the plodding big shot and work “Platinum” to the ground. From there, it should be an easy night for “Cowboy”.

Oliveira, submission, Round 2.

Jake Nichols

Two of the craziest fighters in the UFC are going head-to-head this weekend? Bring it on. Mike Perry’s got them hands, but the Brazilian “Cowboy” is lethal across the board. At long range, Oliveira’s kicks can be devastating and his submission ability is obviously a threat in this one, too. I’m predicting that Oliveira comes out and sets a pace that Perry can’t handle.

Oliveira, submission, Round 2.

Greg Hardy sits down after being disqualified for an illegal knee against Allen Crowder
Greg Hardy sits down after being disqualified for an illegal knee against Allen Crowder (Getty/Josh Hedges)

Greg Hardy vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov

In the co-main event of UFC Sunrise, controversial ex-NFL star Greg Hardy (3-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) looks to avenge a DQ loss in his UFC debut to Russia’s Dmitrii Smoliakov (9-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC), who returns to the UFC following an 0-2 stint with the promotion.

Picking Hardy: Sriram Muralidaran, Michael Fiedel, Shane Connelly, Patrick Auger, Nick Cowie, Ollie Carlson, Jay Cranford, Brandon Sibcy, Jake Nichols

Picking Smoliakov: Drake Riggs, Ahmad Tahriri, Rhodri Morgan


Sriram Muralidaran

I want to pick against Hardy because he’s really bad. That said, there’s a certain point at heavyweight where sheer athleticism beats everything, and ‘Smol Card’ Smoliakov might be that point.

Hardy, KO, Round 1, but I’d love to be wrong.

Michael Fiedel

There’s a lot that can be said about Greg Hardy, and it already has been. To focus on the in-cage aspects of Hardy’s career, this fight is a must-win. In a fight against an opponent who was cut from the UFC after two losses, to Luis Henrique and Cyril Asker, respectively, I think Hardy’s elite heavyweight athleticism and significant punching power will get the job done.

Hardy, KO, Round 1.

Drake Riggs

Hardy got completely exposed in his last fight, and now the blueprint is simple. Get him past the half-way point of the opening round and utilize any sort of grappling, and he’s compromised. Smoliakov isn’t great, but he is definitely good enough, and more importantly, experienced enough, to be able to overcome the new, shameless UFC hype-job.

Smoliakov, submission, Round 2.

Shane Connelly

The co-main event features a fighter who is 0-1 in the UFC (Greg Hardy) and another who is 0-2 (Dmitrii Smoliakov). Not exactly what you want to see. That being said, I think Hardy will get back in the win column in this fight after an embarrassing debut.

Hardy, KO, Round 1.

Ahmad Tahriri

Despite losing both of his fights in the UFC, I’m picking Smolyakov to win this fight. If Crowder could take down Hardy, I think a “Master of Sport in freestyle wrestling” could figure it out.

Smoliakov, unanimous decision.

Patrick Auger

If you get cut from the UFC for getting knocked out by Cyril Asker in the first minute and brought back to face a guy who is known for knocking people out in devastating fashion, you probably know this isn’t going to end well for you. It’ll be a tall order for Dimitrii “The Lifeguard” Smoliakov to save his own life in this one.

Hardy, KO, Round 1.

Nick Cowie

After a strange DQ loss in the first trial of this experiment, the UFC needs Greg Hardy to win to give their investment a chance to pay off. Smoliakov has a wrestling background, but has been finished by less capable strikers than Hardy. I am still not sold on Hardy being a UFC-caliber fighter, but I am convinced that this matchup was made to get him back on track.

Hardy, KO, Round 1.

Ollie Carlson

Greg Hardy looked particularly poor in his debut a few months ago. However, Smoliakov looked similarly weak when he fought in the UFC several years ago. I expect Hardy to have improved significantly, both in his decision-making and skillset, and he should be able to keep the fight standing and pick up his first UFC victory.

Hardy, TKO, Round 1.

Jay Cranford

For whatever reason, Dana White wants Greg Hardy to be the new UFC HW sensation. After his shaky debut which ended in an illegal knee, the UFC had to bring in a former 0-2 UFC fighter in Smoliakov to get him back on track. Smoliakov is a competent wrestler and a submission threat, if the fight goes to the ground Hardy will be in trouble. However after more than 2 years since his last UFC fight, Hardy will catch him for a Round 1 KO.

Hardy, KO, Round 1.

Rhodri Morgan

I’m all for second chances in life, but try as he might, Greg Hardy is really, really hard to root for at the minute. Smoliakov has lost both UFC appearances inside 2 rounds – not filling me confidence. But, he is a ‘Master of Sport’ in Freestyle Wrestling… this fact alone gives him my vote, I hope he sits on Hardy for three rounds, winning a decision.

Smoliakov, unanimous decision.

Brandon Sibcy

Smoliakov has only competed in MMA once in the last two years. In that victory, he submitted a fighter with a .500 record. There is a chance the Russian fighter could use his wrestling against the still green Hardy, but I don’t see it going that way. I expect the former NFL player to use his physicality to shrug of Smoliakov’s clinch or takedown attempts and to let his heavy hands fly.

Hardy, KO, Round 1.

Jake Nichols

Ugh. While many are keen to bet against Hardy in the UFC, this is not the fight to do it. The UFC brought Smoliakov back for a reason. Expect to see him staring up at the lights as Hardy celebrates his first win in the UFC.

Hardy, KO, Round 1.

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza of Brazil knocks out Derek Brunson during UFC Fight Night
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza crushes Derek Brunson with a head kick (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Jack Hermansson

UFC Fort Lauderdale’s main event, a clash between Jacaré Souza (26-6 MMA, 9-3 UFC) and Jack Hermansson (19-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC), came together after withdrawals from both Yoel Romero and Paul Costa, respectively. Souza will look to cement his title shot against a rapidly climbing Hermansson in sunny Sunrise, Florida.

Read Sriram Muralidaran’s in-depth breakdown of “Jacare” vs. Hermansson.

Picking Souza: Sriram Muralidaran, Michael Fiedel, Drake Riggs, Shane Connelly, Ahmad Tahriri, Patrick Auger, Nick Cowie, Ollie Carlson, Jay Cranford, Rhodri Morgan, Brandon Sibcy, Jake Nichols

Picking Hermansson:


Sriram Muralidaran

Hermansson’s best-case is generally clinch-to-ground, and engaging there with Jacaré is supremely dangerous (and even if he gets there, he probably doesn’t have much luck passing guard and doing anything worthwhile). To add to that, his footwork is weird and jumpy (and his defense isn’t amazing), and Souza can pressure well.

Souza, (T)KO, Round 1.

Michael Fiedel

Hermansson is sneakily one of the best fighters in the loaded middleweight division. ‘The Joker’ has a knack for coming out on top when you least expect it, especially when he can ground-and-pound his opponents into next week. That’s going to be a difficult gameplan to implement against Souza, though, who’s one of the best grapplers in MMA history. I see this fight playing out on the feet, and into Jacaré’s hands.

Souza, (T)KO, Round 2.

Drake Riggs

Hermansson is on a tear right now and deserves a big fight. However, it would be a bit surprising to see Jacaré make the mistakes that Branch and Hermansson’s recent opponents have. No one has been able to stifle the Brazilian the way that the champion, Robert Whittaker, has. He’s also just super hungry to finally get his title shot, and he arguably should be on a three-fight winning streak.

Souza, (T)KO, Round 3.

Shane Connelly

At 39 years old, Jacare Souza is still hanging with the best of the best at 185. Jack Hermansson is coming off of a quality performance against David Branch, but this could be a case of too much too soon for the Swedish fighter.

Souza, (T)KO, Round 3.

Ahmad Tahriri

I just don’t see any skill set that’s going to get Hermansson over Souza. He won his last two fights by submission, and we know that’s not happening in this fight. On the feet, Souza still has enough power to end this fight quick.

Souza, KO, Round 1.

Patrick Auger

Hermansson had a wonderful performance against David Branch his last time out, but his last two wins have come by guillotine, something that will be nearly impossible to replicate against Ronaldo Souza. “Jacare” is in a do or die position here–if he wins, he gets a title shot. If he loses, he’ll most likely never have a chance at gold again. The gator will be out for blood in this one, and I think he’ll get it early.

Souza, TKO, Round 1.

Nick Cowie

Paulo Costa vs. Yoel Romero certainly looks different now, but this is still a very fun fight. A win over Hermansson should finally put Souza in line for a title shot. With outstanding striking and one of the best ground games in the sport, there is not much room for Hermansson to take over here. He tapped a brilliant grappler in Branch his last time out, but don’t expect lightning to strike twice.

Souza, unanimous decision.

Ollie Carlson

Jack Hermansson is quickly becoming must-watch entertainment for UFC fans the world-over. Just one of his eight UFC bouts has been left to the judges, with five of those finishing inside the first round. I think this streak will continue, but ‘The Joker’ won’t be victorious in the process as Jacare’s significant striking improvements and toughness will let him survive an early onslaught and put Hermansson away in the second round.

Souza, TKO, Round 2.

Jay Cranford

MMA journeyman Jack Hermansson seems to have found his stride, going 6-2 in the UFC. However, Souza will be an even match up on the ground game, if the fight stays on the feet, Souza will have the striking advantage.

Souza, KO, Round 3.

Rhodri Morgan

Is there a more terrifying sight imaginable than standing in front of 30,000 people, in shorts, watching someone literally locking you in a cage with an angry Jacare Souza. Maybe it’s his pedigree for strangling human beings, his sheer size or perhaps that he’s a dab hand at alligator impressions but the man straight up terrifies me and god help those who fight him, let alone ASK to fight him. The Joker is crazy, we know that, and Hermansson clearly is too – even recently saying that he actually wanted the fight to go to the ground…

FUN FACT – Alligators and crocodiles do not die naturally, they must be killed by disease or a predator – not this time for me, Souza has the thickest skin in the division and he’ll get the 2nd round TKO win.

Souza, TKO, Round 2.

Brandon Sibcy

Hermansson has shown some vicious ground and pound and slick submission skills in his last few outings but he has yet to meet someone the caliber of Jacare on the ground. Souza is 9 years the elder and has looked a bit slower in his last few performances, but he’s also still proven to have KO power late into the third round. I do think Souza’s days are numbered at the top of the division but I don’t think Hermanson is the guy that exposes his age. The skill disparity is just too wide for me to take the younger man in this one.

Souza, TKO, Round 3.

Jake Nichols

I’m expecting “Jacare” to run straight through Hermansson and then call for a shot at the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya. “The Joker” is a legitimately dangerous contender, but the matchup with “Jacare” is an incredibly difficult one for him. Hermansson does his best work on the mat, but that’s a world where “Jacare” has all of the advantages. This one is not going to last long.

Souza, TKO, Round 1.

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