The UFC has announced four new matchups featuring big names, and for today’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll list the bouts and give my initial thoughts on them. Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Johnson, UFC Stockholm The main event of UFC Stockholm was announced by the UFC yesterday and it’s a good one as Alexander Gustafsson takes on Anthony Johnson in a five-round light heavyweight bout that will likely serve as a No. 1 contender’s fight. The event takes place January 24 at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, and is expected to be aired on FOX. This is a very good fight and definitely not an easy one to call. Both men have great striking, wrestling, and a long reach, and it’s a very competitive fight on paper. Gustafsson does a bit better job of mixing up his strikes, but Rumble has knockout power and even if he’s losing in volume, he could absolutely rock “The Mauler” with strikes if he gets the opportunity to land. As far as a betting line goes, it should be pretty competitive but I would imagine Gustafsson is the slight favorite here, and it’s well deserved as his body of work as a light heavyweight is better than Rumble’s. Dan Henderson vs. Gegard Mousasi, UFC Stockholm The co-main event of UFC Stockholm is set with a three-round middleweight bout between Gegard Mousasi, and Dan Henderson, who is moving back down to middleweight for the first time in four years. Most people will lean towards Mousasi and I understand it because he’s younger, faster, and fresher, but I think Henderson has a good chance of pulling off the upset here. Yes, he’s on a decline, but if you look at who he lost to during his losing streak, it’s really only the elite of the light heavyweight division. I think Hendo, with his wrestling and knockout power, can absolutely win this fight, although it’s hard to be confident in him considering he is 44 years of age and coming off of a very one-sided beatdown to Daniel Cormier. Look for Mousasi to be the favorite here, but keep an eye on Henderson as a potential underdog upset pick depending on the odds. Miesha Tate vs. Sara McMann, UFC 183 A women’s bantamweight bout between Miesha Tate and Sara McMann was added to UFC 183, which takes place January 31 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout is likely to be a part of the evening’s main pay-per-view card but it could also wind up being the preliminary card’s main event depending on what other matchups are added to the card. This is a competitive fight, no doubt about it. Both women are strong grapplers, although I would definitely give the overall edge in wrestling to McMann. As for striking, neither is great, but I think McMann has a bit more power on the feet and a bit crisper boxing. This fight could realistically go either way but I do slightly lean towards McMann. As for a betting line, I expect it to be competitive but with McMann entering as the slight fav. Bigfoot Silva vs. Frank Mir, UFC 184 A heavyweight bout between Bigfoot Silva and Frank Mir has been added to UFC 184, which takes place February 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Despite both men being on losing skids, the bout is going to be a part of the evening’s main PPV card. Both of these guys are ranked high in the heavyweight division but both are also clearly on the downside of their respective careers. Mir has lost four in a row and his decline on paper looks much worse, but the way Bigfoot was knocked out so quickly by Andrei Arlovski in his last bout is extremely concerning going forward. Both men are known to have questionable chins, and who wins this bout could really come down to who lands a big punch first. This is a true Pick ’em fight if you ask me, and definitely a dangerous one to betting on. Really, it just comes to whoever strikes first. I think Mir will benefit from the long layoff he’s had to bounce back with a victory, but I’m not confident at all and would never bet on either fighter in this spot.
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