Wrestling & MMA

American Top Team fighters eager to compete on UFC Fight Night in Sunrise

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UFC Fight Night on ESPN is Saturday live on ESPN from the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

Former NFL football player Greg Hardy and experienced MMA fighter Andrei Arlovski are on the card. Both are in South Florida, training at the prestigious American Top Team in Coconut Creek.

In the main event, Jack “The Joker” Hermansson will face the No. 4-ranked middleweight Ronaldo Jacare Souza.

Hermansson, the newest member of the 185-pound top 10, replaces Miami’s Yoel Romero, 41, who was set to have a rematch with Souza.

The No. 1-ranked Romero (13-3), who reportedly pulled out because of illness, competed against Souza in the past, beating Souza by split decision at UFC 194 in December 2015.

Souza was looking forward to the rematch, but now his attention focuses on Norway’s Hermansson.

Fresh off a knockout of former world champ Chris Weidman at UFC 230, the 38-year-old Souza (26-6) is eager to stamp his ticket to a title shot with a win over Hermansson.

The 30-year-old Hermansson (19-4) is a tough challenge, finishing his last five victories - including a 49-second submission of David Branch in March - before the final horn.

Hardy On The Main Card

“Prince of War” Hardy (3-1) faces Dmitrii “The Lifeguard” Smoliakov (8-2) in a heavyweight battle.

Hardy, 30, excelled in football at all levels, starting in Memphis as a youth, then high school ball (Briarcrest Christian), before earning a scholarship to Ole Miss.

The 6-4, 280-pound defensive end then competed in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys. He was a three-sport star in high school (basketball, football, track and field) and played high school and college football with Michael Oher, who was the inspiration of the Academy Award nominated movie “The Blind Side.”

My video interview with Hardy at American Top Team

The 6-2, 257-pound Smoliakov, 36, is from Russia, experienced in boxing and wrestling.

Plus The Pitbull On The Prelims

Veteran MMA fighter Andrei The Pitbull Arlovski (27-17) faces Augusto Sakai (12-1-1).

Arlovski, 40, is a Belarusian mixed martial artist, actor and former UFC Heavyweight Champ.

The 6-3, 249 pounder is ranked No.15.

My video interview with Arlvoski at American Top Team.

The 6-4, 264 pound Sakai is a Japanese Brazilian mixed martial artist.

More Main Card action which begins 9 p.m. on ESPN +

Welterweight: Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira (19-6-1) vs. “Platinum” Mike Perry (12-4)

Lightheavyweight: No. 11 Glover Teixeira (28-7) vs. Ion Cutelaba (14-3)

Bantamweight: No. 8 John Lineker (31-8) vs. Cory Sandhagen (10-1)

Lightweight: Roosevelt Roberts (7-0) vs. Thomas Gifford (14-7)

More Prelims which begin 7 p.m. on ESPN

Welterweight: Ben Saunders (22-11-2) vs. Takashi Sato (14-2)

Strawweight: No.9 Carla Esparza (14-6) vs. Virna Jandiroba (14-0)

Lightweight: Gilbert Burns (14-3) vs. Mike Davis (5-1)

Early Prelims begin 5:30 p.m. on ESPN 2

Lightweight: Jim Miller (29-13) vs. Jason Gonzalez (11-4)

Strawweight: Angela Hill (8-6) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-4)

Welterweight: Court McGee (19-7) vs. Dhiego Lima (13-7)

Card subject to change.

Ticket info and more

For ticket info for UFC Fight Night on ESPN in Sunrise, click TicketInfoHere.

For more info on UFC, click UFCwebsite.

UFC Weigh-ins and Fan Experience

UFC Fight Night on ESPN weigh-ins are free and open to the public at 4 p.m. Friday, April 26 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, across from the Sawgrass Mills Mall. Doors open at 3 p.m.

UFC Fight Night Fan Experience is free and open to the public at 2-6 p.m. Saturday, April 27 also at the BB&T Center (outside near the patio deck).

#UFCFTLauderdale

On the Web and Social Media

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/

Twitter: @jimmyv3

YouTube: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProWrestlingSouthFlorida/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WWE-WrestleMania-28-Miami-241160769255279/

Jim Varsallone covers pro wrestling, something he’s done since his college days in the late 1980s. Spanning four decades, he currently covers WWE (Raw, SmackDown and NXT), Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, MLW, WOW, FSCW, AEW and the South Florida indies. He also writes MMA -- mostly profile stories and video interviews with American Top Team talent in South Florida. As for pro wrestling, he writes feature stories and profile pieces, updates upcoming show schedules in South Florida, photographs the action and interviews talent (audio and video) -- sharing the content here and via social media on his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel).
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