The next UFC event — UFC on Fox 27 — goes down this Saturday (Jan. 27th) and features a main-event tilt between Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza and Derek Brunson. This is the second time both of these middleweights will face off, with Souza winning via knockout in their first go around in 2012. However, time is a funny thing, and six years later, it is Brunson riding the tide of momentum while Souza regroups after a catastrophic loss that cost him a shot at the UFC middleweight title.
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While this isn’t the tastiest main class the UFC has served, it is a captivating contrast in styles, and every MMA event, no matter the hype, produces potential gambling opportunities. Where’s the smart money going for Souza vs Brunson 2?
Stay tuned for a broader look at the card at Best Bets for UFC on Fox 27 that Thursday.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (-160) vs. Derek Brunson (+135)
Jacare Souza fighting in Strikeforce.
Jacare Souza. Photo by LowLight (YouTube) [CC Permit ].
This is your traditional battle of fashions. Ronaldo Souza (24-5, 17 admissions ) is one of the very best jiu-jitsu practitioners to step foot into a UFC Octagon while Derek Brunson (18-5, 10 KOs) loves to put people to sleep with his powerful fists.
The first time these two combatants met was back in 2012 under the old Strikeforce bannerand it was actually Souza who managed to put Brunson to sleep with a quick hook, one of three career knockouts for the Brazilian.
Six decades later, Brunson, a former Division II All-American wrestler (and cheerleader!) , has a chance for revenge.
His opponent is among the most feared grapplers on the planet and has stopped 58-percent of his own struggles via submission. As he revealed in the first matchup, he is not too shabby at throwing leather either. He lands a decent 2.28 significant strikes per minute and has a striking accuracy of 44.1-percent.
Souza suffered a catastrophic loss to Robert Whittaker via head kick at his final struggle (April 2017), but he has also won 10 of his final 12 and hasn’t lost back-to-back conflicts in his career. A win on Saturday would place Souza’s title back into middleweight title picture, and time is of the essence for the 38-year-old.
At 34, Derek Brunson’s own career clock is now getting late. He rebounded from back-to-back losses to Whittaker and Anderson Silva with KO wins over Dan Kelly (June 2017) and Lyoto Machida (October 2017), rising up the middleweight positions in the process. Knocking men out isn’t something new to its hard-hitting middleweight, who averages 3.2 significant strikes per minute with a striking accuracy of 32.1-percent. He’s won 61-percent of his struggles via KO, and it has produced knockouts in each of his past six successes. Interestingly, he’s never been filed in his career.
The contrasting styles make this a very interesting fight for MMA purists. Normally, it’s wise to lean towards the high-level grappler over the power puncher, but Souza’s age coupled with his last performance suggest a potential Brunson upset. Search for the American to use his speed, power, and five-inch reach advantage (77??? vs 72???) to try to finish things early, while using his wrestling to keep the fight standing.
At the moment, Brunson is recorded at +135 on MyBookie.ag. It is a fantastic value bet worth getting now.
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