The next UFC occasion — UFC on Fox 27 — goes down this Saturday (Jan. 27th) and features a main-event tip between Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza and Derek Brunson. This is the second time these two middleweights will face off, with Souza winning through knockout in their first go around in 2012. However, time is a funny thing, and six years later, it is 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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Even though this isn’t the tastiest primary class the UFC has served, it’s a captivating contrast in styles, and each MMA event, whatever the hype, produces potential betting opportunities. Where is 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 that Thursday.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (-160) vs. Derek Brunson (+135)
Jacare Souza combating in Strikeforce.
Jacare Souza combating in Strikeforce. Photo from LowLight (YouTube) [CC License].
This is your traditional battle of fashions. Ronaldo Souza (24-5, 17 admissions ) 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 powerful fists.
Initially both of these combatants met was back in 2012 under the aged Strikeforce banner, and it was actually Souza who was able to place Brunson to sleep with a quick right hook, one of three career knockouts for the Brazilian.
Via GIPHY
Six decades later, 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 ended 58-percent of his fights via entry. As he revealed in the first matchup, he is not too shabby in casting leather either. He lands a decent 2.28 significant strikes per minute and has a spectacular 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 fights in his career. A win on Saturday would put 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), increasing up the middleweight positions in the procedure. Knocking guys out isn’t 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 his past six victories. Interestingly, he’s never been filed in his professional career.
The contrasting styles make this a very interesting fight for MMA purists. Typically, it is smart to lean towards the high level grappler over the energy puncher, but Souza’s age combined with his very 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 elite wrestling to keep the fight standing.
Right now, Brunson is recorded at +135 on MyBookie.ag. It is a good value bet worth taking now.

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