The following UFC event — 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 both of these middleweights will face off, with Souza winning through knockout in their first go around in 2012. But time is a funny thing, and six years later, it’s Brunson riding the wave of momentum while Souza regroups after a devastating loss that cost him a shot at the UFC middleweight title.
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While this isn’t the tastiest primary course the UFC has ever served, it’s a captivating contrast in styles, and each MMA event, whatever the hype, produces possible gambling opportunities. Where’s the smart money going for Souza vs Brunson 2?
Stay tuned for a more comprehensive look at the card at Best Bets for UFC on Fox 27 this Thursday.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (-160) vs. Derek Brunson (+135)
Jacare Souza fighting in Strikeforce.
Jacare Souza combating in Strikeforce. Photo by LowLight (YouTube) [CC Permit ].
This is your traditional battle of fashions. Ronaldo Souza (24-5, 17 submissions) is among the best jiu-jitsu practitioners to ever step foot into a UFC Octagon while Derek Brunson (18-5, 10 KOs) loves to put people to sleep with his strong fists.
Initially these two combatants met was back in 2012 under the old Strikeforce banner, and it was really Souza who managed to place Brunson to sleep with a quick hook, just 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 on the planet and has ended 58-percent of his struggles via entry. As he revealed in the first matchup, he’s not too shabby in casting leather either. He lands a decent 2.28 significant strikes every minute and has a spectacular accuracy of 44.1-percent.
Souza suffered a catastrophic loss to Robert Whittaker via head kick at his last fight (April 2017), but he has also won 10 of his last 12 and hasn’t lost back-to-back conflicts in his career. A win on Saturday would put Souza’s title back into middleweight title film, and time is of the essence for its 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), increasing up the middleweight positions in the process. Knocking men out is not anything new for 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 own fights via KO, and it has generated knockouts in each of the past six successes. Interestingly, he’s never been submitted in his professional career.
The contrasting styles make this a tremendously interesting battle for MMA purists. Typically, it is wise to lean towards the high level grappler over the power puncher, but Souza’s age combined with his very last performance suggest a potential Brunson upset. Search for the American to utilize his speed, power, and five-inch reach advantage (77??? vs 72???) to attempt to finish things early, while using his elite wrestling to keep the fight standing.
At the moment, Brunson is recorded at +135 on MyBookie.ag. It is a fantastic value bet worth taking now.
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