UFC on ESPN+ 8 Preview

ufc-espn+8Every year every fighter is looking to make an impression and truly make an impact in their own division.

Nobody really knows when that is going to happen no matter how much they can predict or look at those fighters set up for big years.

Often there are fighters who ended a year on a tear and they are the ones who are looked to as the potential great fighters.

Those fighters are the ones to watch and they get a lot of the focus when the new year begins as they get the big fights that they need to follow through.

There will always be a surprise though as nobody can ever really predict who is going to take advantage of the opportunities they get.

A fighter can come out of nowhere and make an impact on the promotion that launches them right into the discussion by the end of the year.

Although those big names in 2018 have the better shot at doing big things not all will make it and sometimes those unknown fighters make good on the unexpected chances.

In the early stages of the year, one fighter is beginning to shape up like that potential surprise for the year.

Jack Hermansson was far from the guy that everyone was watching when the year began as he was just a role player in the middleweight division.

He had quietly taken two wins in 2018 against other role players in the division and wasn’t likely to get much of a chance to showcase his talent in the new year.

He started that new year off in another middling fight against Dave Branch in March but that launched what could be a special year for the Swede.

His win over Branch was an impressive one with a first-round guillotine choke that earned him a performance of the night bonus.

It was a big start for the year as he was likely to get another fight that could slowly move him up the rankings.

Then the opportunity came when Yoel Romero was forced to drop out of his main event fight against Ronaldo Souza.

It was set to be a fight between two of the best middleweights in the UFC both with a legitimate claim to the top contender spot.

The winner was going to head into a crowded spot on top while everyone awaits the return of Robert Whittaker against Israel Adesanya.

With Romero out the UFC scrambled to find someone to fill the spot that could provide an opponent for Souza.

Hermansson stepped into the role and took on the challenge of fighting Souza on short notice.mma-sidebar.fw

It is a chance for a fighter just beginning a run in the middleweight division to take a giant leap forward.

A win against Souza would launch him into the conversation for future title contention and by the end of the year, he could be there.

That is obviously easier said than done as Souza is one of the best fighters in the UFC with a Jiu-Jitsu background that is among the most impressive in the promotion.

He has had some difficulty in recent fights largely due to the fact that he was facing the best in the division.

Loses to Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum have been offset by wins over Chris Weidman and Derek Brunson.

In facing the best there is a lot of potential for losing but also a lot of opportunity for taking big wins and moving up.

As the #4 ranked fighter in the division he is only one big win away from putting his name in the running for another title shot.

Unfortunately, that opportunity left when Romero was hurt and now he is just looking to get a win and avoid the upset.

There is no doubt that Souza is the better fighter of the two but anything can happen at any fight.

Hermansson has been given the best chance he could think of as a win in Fort Lauderdale puts him right in the running to have one of the best years in the UFC.

It would mark his second straight win in only two months including a big one against a big name.

To get the win would mean he is ready for a run but standing in front of that run is one of the best in the game.

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