UFC middleweight contenders Yoel Romero and Ronaldo Souza will meet again inside the Octagon.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed with UFC president Dana White on Thursday that instead of a planned bout between Romero and Paulo Costa, the Cuban is instead set to face “Jacare” in the main event of UFC on ESPN 3 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is unknown why the Costa fight fell through.
Romero (13-3) hasn’t fought since losing a thrilling split decision to current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 225 last June. He missed weight for the bout, making it a non-title affair. The 41-year-old “Soldier of God” was overweight for an interim title against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221, but did get the next title shot anyway after a vicious KO victory. Whittaker is the only man to defeat Romero since he moved down from 205 lbs in 2013.
Souza (26-6, 1 NC) is coming off a spectacular third-round KO of former champ Chris Weidman at UFC 230 in New York. The submission specialist has scored knockouts in three of his last four wins, including against Derek Brunson in January 2018. Jacare did suffer a split decision defeat to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 224 in May.
These two first faced off at UFC 194 in December 2015, with Romero scoring an early knockdown and edging Souza out via three-round split decision. Now the rematch will be scheduled for five rounds.
UFC Fort Lauderdale will happen on Saturday, April 27th, the same night as Bellator 220: MacDonald vs. Fitch.