Jack Hermansson meets 'Jacare' Souza in UFC on ESPN 3 headliner

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Jack Hermansson’s first UFC main event will come on short notice against one of the top names in the middleweight division.

After Yoel Romero (13-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) was forced to withdraw from this month’s UFC on ESPN 3 headliner due to illness, Hermansson (19-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has agreed to step in and fight Ronaldo Souza (26-6 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in a key 185-pound bout.

MMA Junkie verified the fight has been agreed upon with a person close to the situation following an initial report from ESPN.com. The person requested anonymity because the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.

UFC on ESPN 3 takes place April 27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The card airs on ESPN following early prelims on ESPN+.

Hermansson, No. 15 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA middleweight rankings, is coming off the biggest victory of his career. “The Joker” submitted former WSOF champ David Branch in just 49 seconds at UFC on ESPN 2, giving him a three-fight winning streak inside the octagon.

Following his finish of Branch, Hermansson said he was eyeing a spot against a top name at 185 pounds when the UFC visits his native Sweden on June 1. Fighting on that card appears unlikely now, though, because he will make a 28-day turnaround to headline a card for the first time.

Hermansson will get a stern challenge in former Strikeforce champ and perennial UFC contender Souza, who is No. 6 in the rankings. “Jacare” is coming off a TKO finish of former UFC titleholder Chris Weidman at UFC 230 in November and would have had the chance to avenge a loss to No. 2-ranked Romero in their planned rematch, but now he must fight down in the rankings.

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