The UFC announced three new fights on Monday, and for Tuesday’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll list the bouts and give my thoughts on the new announcements. Tom Niinimaki vs. Rony Jason, UFC Fight Night 58 A featherweight bout between Ton Niinmaki and Rony Jason is the latest addition to UFC Fight Night 58, which is set to take place December 20 at Ginasio Jose Correa in Barueri, Brazil. For a Fight Night card, this event is looking pretty stacked, so expect Niinimaki vs. Jason to be on the prelims even despite Jason’s popularity in Brazil. I’m not really sure what happened to Niinimaki but he hasn’t looked good since coming to the UFC, going 1-2 overall, and he’s been finished in the first round in his last two fights. He’s still a skilled veteran and a solid test for anyone at 145lbs, but this matchup looks like it’s designed to get Jason back in the win column. Jason is 4-2 in the UFC, and overall has performed well since winning the first season of TUF Brazil. I don’t think he’s a great fighter or anything, but he’s pretty solid and well-rounded and should be favored against Niinimaki, who will more than likely be released should he lose his third-straight fight. Lorenz Larkin vs. John Howard, UFC Fight Night 59 A welterweight bout between Lorenz Larkin and John Howard has been added to UFC Fight Night 59, which takes place January 18 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The card is really stacked so expect Larkin vs. Howard to be a preliminary bout. Larkin, who has lost three in a row and four of five, is making his 170lb debut, while Howard is on a two-fight losing streak and is 2-2 overall since his making his return to the UFC last year. Both guys are exciting strikers with decent takedown defence, but there’s no doubt that both need a win here desperately in order to keep their job. Larkin’s a guy I’ve always liked, but he’s looked awful in the UFC, and while I do think he should be better suited for welterweight, I really can’t trust him at this point. Howard, to me, has always been underrated, and although he’s on a losing streak himself, I do trust him more. I think Larkin probably opens up as a small favorite here based on past betting patterns, but at this moment my slight lean for a pick is Howard. Sean O’Connell vs. Matt Van Buren, UFC Fight Night 59 In addition to Larkin vs. Howard, a light heavyweight bout between Sean O’Connell and Matt Van Buren was also added to the UFC Fight Night 59 prelims. O’Connell is 0-2 so far in the UFC while O’Connell, a TUF 19 veteran, is 0-1 and coming off of a brutal knockout loss. Both guys probably would have been cut already had they been in any other division, but 205lbs is weak and that’s why both men are getting one more shot to stick around the Octagon. Van Buren is younger and has more potential in the sport, but I just don’t think he’s very good. O’Connell isn’t great, but he has some skills, and he’s pretty tough too. This could be a competitive fight if both fighters’ chins hold up, but I do lean towards O’Connell to take this one down, and I think he should be favored ever-so-slightly.
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