The UFC returns to FOX this weekend with ‘UFC on FOX 27’ and marks the organization’s first appearance in Charlotte since 2010.
A middleweight matchup between Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson will headline the event. Souza and Brunson previously met in Strikeforce in 2012, as the co-main event to Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman. It took just 41 seconds for Souza to finish Brunson’s night early. Now, the two meet again but this time with much more at stake.
After losing to Robert Whittaker, Brunson was ‘robbed’ of a decision against Anderson Silva not long after. But since that day, Brunson has bounced back to form with consecutive victories against Daniel Kelly and Lyoto Machida in the first round.
His opponent, “Jacare” Souza has only ever lost to the ‘three-headed monster’ in the middleweight division. That is, of course, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, and Luke Rockhold. His most recent defeat came at the hands of Whittaker at UFC on FOX 24. Despite entering the fight as a slight betting favorite, Souza was completely outclassed by the Australian.
Prediction: Jacare Souza by submission – round one
In the co-main event, Dennis Bermudez will battle with Andre Fili in a featherweight contest. Bermudez, who was floored by “The Korean Zombie” early last year, dropped his second fight in a row when he faced the rising Darren Elkins at UFC on FOX in July. The split decision has left Bermudez scrambling to recover the pieces as he looks to stay in contention in the featherweight division.
Andre “Touchy” Fili has alternated wins and losses in his previous nine bouts dating back to 2013. After being defeated by Calvin Kattar at UFC 214, Fili got back to winning ways against Artem Lobov at UFC Fight Night 118.
Prediction: Dennis Bermudez by decision
Also on the main card, lightweight forces in Gregor Gillespie and Jordan Rinaldi will clash just after scoring submission victories. Gillespie is undefeated in his ten-fight career and has managed three consecutive victories in the UFC since joining in September 2016. After upsetting Glaico Franca, he backed it up with stoppages of Andrew Holbrook and Jason Gonzalez.
The 13-5 Jordan Rinaldi was unsuccessful in his UFC debut vs. Abel Trujillo but soon impressed when he defeated Alvaro Herrera at UFC Fight Night 114 last year. All three of Rinaldi’s latest victories have come via way of submission.
Prediction: Gregor Gillespie by decision
After four years in the UFC, Drew Dober finds himself in his first-ever main card at UFC on FOX 27. Dober will face the incredibly entertaining Frank Camacho, who has two ‘Fight of the Night’ awards to his name in just the two fights he has had with the UFC.
Dober recently picked up a first round KO/TKO victory over Josh Burkman at UFC 214 and moves to 3-1 in his last four outings. Camacho, on the other hand, is now 1-1 in the UFC after picking up a split decision win over Damien Brown at UFC Fight Night 121 in Australia.
Prediction: Drew Dober by KO/TKO
Derek Brunson enters the main event with Ronaldo Souza as a slight betting underdog in a very tempting position.
Brunson himself said that he was relatively inexperienced at the time of their first match and rushed in toward his opponent with overwhelming confidence. Now, however, Brunson employs a more tactical gameplan and waits for his opportunity to explode before doing so. It’s also important to note that he rocked Robert Whittaker in that crazy back-and-forth first round in Australia before Whittaker ended up winning the fight.
This also marks the first time that Souza has entered the cage in nearly nine months. In that fight, Souza was utterly dominated by Whittaker’s defensive wrestling before being beaten on the feet.
However, it might not be that easy for Derek Brunson. Whittaker tactfully dissected his opponent with a blend of patience and aggression before connecting with significant head kicks that changed the course of the fight. He also has the wrestling pedigree to shake off Souza’s grappling.
Brunson’s biggest weapon right now is his hands, but Souza is excellent at defending punches – he just stays slightly out of range before eventually shooting in for a takedown. Souza also has the hands to smash Brunson if he moves in carelessly.
Bet: Total Rounds – Under 1.5 (+115)
UFC on FOX 27 fight card
UFC on FOX 27 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 3:30 pm ET (8:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, January 27.
Pay-per-view (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)
- Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson
- Dennis Bermudez vs. Andre Fili
- Jordan Rinaldi vs. Gregor Gillespie
- Drew Dober vs. Frank Camacho
FS1 (5:00 pm ET / 10:00 pm GMT)
- Bobby Green vs. Erik Koch
- Mirsad Bektic vs. Godofredo Pepey
- Katlyn Chookagian vs. Mara Romero Borella
- Randa Markos vs. Juliana Lima
- Justine Kish vs. Ji Yeon Kim
- Vinc Pichel vs. Joaquim Silva
Fight Pass Prelims
UFC Fight Pass (3:30 pm ET / 8:30 pm GMT)
- Niko Price vs. George Sullivan
- Austin Arnett vs. Cory Sandhagen