UFC Fight Night 150 comes to Ft Lauderdale, Florida, without hometown favorite Yoel Romero or even Paulo Costa in tow, but a middleweight headliner featuring the streaking Jack Hermansson and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza.
The Brazilian has been scheduled for the card for some time, but original opponent Yoel Romero was forced out with pneumonia, and Paulo Costa turned down the late-notice bout. Instead, fans will see Jacare take on No. 10 Hermansson in a dangerous fight for him.
Co-headlining the event is polarizing heavyweight Greg Hardy. The former NFL star had a disappointing UFC debut in which he lost by disqualification due to knees to a grounded opponent. Now, he'll look to get his first win over Russian Dmitry Smoliakov.
The card figures to feature some action fights as well. Mike Perry and John Lineker will be making appearances along with Glover Teixeira, so there's plenty of finishing power in the lineup.
Odds via Action Network
Main Card (ESPN+, 9 PM ET)
- Jacare Souza (-190, bet $100 to win $190); Jack Hermansson (+155, bet $100 to win $155)
- Greg Hardy (-280); Dmitry Smoliakov (+220)
- Alex Oliveira (-200); Mike Perry (+160)
- Glover Teixeira (+125); Ion Cutelaba (-155)
- John Lineker (-140); Cory Sandhagen (+110)
- Roosevelt Roberts (-350); Thomas Gifford (+265)
Preliminary Card (ESPN, 7 PM ET)
- Ben Saunders (+175); Takashi Sato (-225)
- Andrei Arlovski (+115); Sakai (-145)
- Carla Esparza (-125); Virna Jandiroba (-105)
- Gilbert Burns (-275); Mike Davis (+215)
Preliminary Card (ESPN 2/ESPN+, 5:30 PM ET)
- Jim Miller (-155); Jason Gonzalez (+125)
- Angela Hill (-220); Jodie Esquibel (+180)
- Court McGee (-170); Dhiego Lima (+140)
Souza vs. Hermansson
This is the biggest opportunity of Jack Hermansson's career.
After an inauspicious 3-2 start to his UFC career, he's rattled off three straight finishes against Thales Leites, Gerald Meerschaert and David Branch. Now, he'll have the chance to fight one of the most accomplished and feared fighters in his division.
Souza's ground game is revered throughout the sport. He's racked up 14 submission wins throughout his career, and it opens up things for him in the striking department. However, Hermansson is confident in his own abilities on the ground, going so far as to compare himself to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I am not afraid to go (to the ground). I will take him down, and I will do what I do. He has a really good ground game, but I have good medicine for that, and that’s the best ground-and-pound in the world,” Hermansson said on The MMA Hour (via Adam Guillen Jr. of MMA Mania).
“I think Khabib is probably No. 2 after me. He is extremely good at the controlling. But he gets so tight that he doesn’t get a lot of leverage and power, but he makes up for it in volume and pressure,” he added. “He really wears on his opponents. But I think he is also really, really good at it. And I take some tricks from him as well, when I practice.”
Hermansson's own body of work has been impressive in the department. He submitted Branch in just 49 seconds last time out, but attempting to grapple with Souza hasn't turned out well for many.
Hubris might be Hermansson's downfall in this one. Souza has only lost to champions and title challengers so far in the UFC. Hermansson just isn't on that level yet.
Prediction: Souza via second-round submission
John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen
The Greg Hardy co-main event has the big name and intrigue from the NFL crossover appeal, but the people's co-main event is John Lineker and Cory Sandhagen. The bantamweight bout is a classic prospect vs. veteran matchup that should be a barn-burner.
John Lineker is never in a boring fight. He is a ball of fury with excellent power, always looking to unleash attacks to the body and chasing down his opponent. The veteran has picked up back-to-back wins since his loss to T.J. Dillashaw.
This time his opponent happens to be a promising prospect with his own penchant for finishing fights. He's gone 3-0 in the UFC with stoppage victories each time out.
Sandhagen's biggest advantage in this one is going to be his length. He'll have an eight-inch height advantage and a three-inch reach advantage. While Lineker is good at closing the distance with his lunging hooks, Sandhagen is even longer than most bantamweights.
Lineker will force Sandhagen to fight off his back foot. That's just what he does. However, Sandhagen sees himself as a Dominick Cruz-style fighter, and this will give him the opportunity to prove it.
"I got into martial arts by watching the WEC, and I loved Dominick Cruz," Sandhagen said, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN. "I kind of adopted Cruz's style and then made it my own, to be honest. Obviously, I think what I'm doing is better than what he's doing—so I would almost call myself an upgraded version of him."
Lineker is going to come forward throwing heavy leather. If Sandhagen crumbles under the pressure, we'll know he isn't quite ready for the big time just yet. If he's able to circle out and fire back with an attack of his own, he could be something special.
Prediction: Sandhagen via unanimous decision