A number of new UFC bouts were announced in the past 24 hours, and for today’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll give my thoughts on all of them. Charles Oliveira vs. Nik Lentz, UFC Fight Night 67 A featherweight bout between Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz, which was originally scheduled to take place at UFC Fight Night 50, has been re-booked for UFC Fight Night 67, which takes place May 30 at Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil. It’s a tough fight to call. Oliveira is an amazing submission artist and his overall game is improving, but Lentz is such a talented grinder and he just knows how to win fights. I have to lean towards Oliveira because I think he’s the more talented fighter and this fight is in Brazil, but it’s hard to count out Lentz. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Nicolas Dalby, UFC Fight Night 67 As well, a welterweight bout between Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Nicolas Dalby has also been added to UFC Fight Night 67. I don’t know much about dos Santos but Dalby is a very talented fighter coming out of Europe and it’s hard not to lean towards him in this spot. Dennis Siver vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri, UFC Fight Night 69 A featherweight matchup between veterans Dennis Siver and Tatsuya Kawajiri is the latest addition to UFC Fight Night 69, which is set for June 20 at O2 World in Berlin, Germany. This is a striker vs. grappler matchup, so the winner will be who dictates where the fight takes place, and in this particular spot I lean towards Siver, who is fighting at home. Still, it’s a close fight and I expect a close line too. Niklas Backstrom vs. Noad Lahat, UFC Fight Night 69 A featherweight bout between Niklas Backstrom and Noad Lahat will also take place at UFC Fight Night 69. A year ago I would have picked Backstrom hands down, but after seeing him get knocked out by Mike Wilkinson I don’t see how you can be too confident in him. I still think he has the skillset to pick up a win over Lahat, but Backstrom is not a guy to lay juice on until he proves himself again. Makwan Amirkhani vs. Diego Rivas, UFC Fight Night 69 As well, a featherweight bout between Makwan Amirkhani and Diego Rivas was added to UFC Fight Night 69. This looks like a mismatch to me. Rivas is OK, but Amirkhani is more talented and with his personality why would the UFC want him to lose? Look for Amirkhani to win this fight in impressive fashion, and I expect him to be the established favorite heading into the bout. Gunnar Nelson vs. John Hathaway, UFC 189 A welterweight bout between Gunnar Nelson and John Hathaway was added to UFC 189, which takes place July 11 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s nice to see both of these Europeans get a chance to fight in the U.S., and I think this is going to be a pretty good fight between two young veterans who need to get a win. Still, it’s hard to not like Nelson here. His grappling is out of this world and he has solid striking as well, so unless Hathaway has improved immensely during his time off I don’t see him having what it takes to beat Nelson, who I believe should be a solid favorite in this spot. Brandon Thatch vs. John Howard, UFC 189 As well, a welterweight bout between Brandon Thatch and John Howard was also added to UFC 189. Thatch was supposed to fight Jordan Mein, but Mein needs more time to heal up so the UFC matched up Thatch with Howard instead. And it’s a matchup I don’t understand. Thatch lost to Benson Henderson, yes, but Howard has lost three in a row to mid-tier fighters and I just don’t understand why Thatch is getting such a big step down in competition. Thatch should be a massive favorite here, around -400, and I fully expect him to win by brutal knockout.
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