The next UFC occasion — UFC on Fox 27 — goes down this Saturday (Jan. 27th) and comes with a main-event tilt between Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza and Derek Brunson. This is actually the second time these two middleweights will face off, with Souza winning via knockout in their first go around in 2012. However, time is a funny thing, and six decades later, it’s Brunson riding the wave 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’s a captivating contrast in styles, and every MMA event, no matter the hype, creates possible 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 License].
This is your traditional battle of styles. Ronaldo Souza (24-5, 17 admissions ) is one of the 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.
Initially both of these combatants met was back in 2012 under the aged Strikeforce bannerand it was really Souza who was able to put Brunson to sleep with a quick right hook, one of three career knockouts for the Brazilian.
Six decades after, Brunson, a former Division II All-American wrestler (and cheerleader!) , has an opportunity for revenge.
His opponent is one of the most feared grapplers around the planet, and it has stopped 58-percent of his own struggles via submission. As he showed in the first matchup, he’s not too shabby in casting leather . 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 through head kick in his final struggle (April 2017), but he’s also won 10 of his last 12 and has never dropped back-to-back conflicts in his career. A win on Saturday would place Souza’s name back to 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 rankings in the process. Knocking men out isn’t something new to the hard-hitting middleweight, who averages 3.2 significant strikes per minute with a striking accuracy of 32.1-percent. He has won 61-percent of his own fights via KO, and it has produced knockouts in each of the past six victories. Interestingly, he has never been submitted in his career.
The contrasting styles make this a tremendously interesting battle for MMA purists. Typically, it is smart to lean towards the high-level grappler within the energy puncher, but Souza’s age coupled with his last performance suggest a possible 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 utilizing his wrestling to keep the fight standing.
At the moment, Brunson is listed at +135 on MyBookie.ag. It is a good value bet worth taking now.
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