Derek Brunson A few new bouts were booked for upcoming fight cards over the weekend, and for today’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll give my initial breakdowns for all the both bouts. Dhiego Lima vs. Li Jingliang, UFC Fight Night 66 Due to an injury to Roger Zapta, Dhiego Lima has replaced him against Li Jingliang in a welterweight bout that will take place at UFC Fight Night 66, which is set for May 16 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Philippines. It’s easy to fade Chinese fighters, but Jingliang is actually one of the better ones in the UFC. He’s a pretty big guy for 170 and has pretty good wrestling — hence his nickname “The Leetch” — and he has a decent win on his resume over David Michaud. He’s sloppy on the feet, but he’s aggressive and wild and he’s taking on a guy in Lima who has a suspect chin. Lima is the slightly more experienced fighter, but he relies mostly on his wrestling and it remains to be seen how effective it will be against Jingliang, who has very solid takedown defence for the most part. This is a pretty close fight, but I lean towards Jingliang. Lima is taking this fight on short notice and he’s coming off of a brutal knockout loss to Tim Means and I don’t think he’s taken enough time off since that beatdown. I think Jingliang makes the most of fighting in Asia and picks up the win here. I expect Lima to be favored because of his name, but Jingliang is a very live dog in this spot. Damon Jackson vs. Rony Jason, UFC Fight Night 67 A featherweight contest between Damon Jackson and Rony Jason is target for UFC Fight Night 67, which takes place May 30 at Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil. The fight will likely be a part of the preliminary card. Jackson has not fought since losing in his UFC debut last summer to Yancy Medeiros via first-round submission. However, that fight was at lightweight and Jackson took it on very short notice and now he’s moving back down to 145lbs where he should be much more effective. The layoff is concerning, but Jackson is a young fighter who has most likely been improving during his time away from the cage. As for Jason, the former TUF Brazil winner, he’s fallen on hard times as of late, losing two of his last three fights, and he too has had a long layoff. Jason is a talented guy, no doubt, but I don’t think he’s the future world champ some thought he was when he was running through the TUF house. Considering he’s five years older than Jackson, there are a lot of things going against Jason here, although he will have home-field advantage for this fight which could come in handy if it hits the scorecards. I think Jason is pretty solid but I also think he’s hit a decline spot in his career whereas I think Jackson is on the way up. Jason is the more popular, more well known fighter and will probably be the favorite here, but I think Jackson can absolutely win this fight, and I feel like he might even find a finish. Derek Brunson vs. Krzysztof Jotko, UFC Fight Night 69 A middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Krzysztof Jotko was added to UFC Fight Night 69, which takes place June 20 at O2 World in Berlin, Germany. The fight could appear on either the preliminary or main card. I don’t really understand the matchmaking here. Jotko is decent, and he’s improving every fight, but I really feel like Brunson is on the verge of breaking into the top 15 of the UFC middleweight division, and as he showed in his last outing against Ed Herman — where he earned a first-round KO — he’s rapidly evolving as a fighter. Jotko, on the other hand, is barely in the top 40 in his weight class. Jotko is the kind of guy who will push you up against the fence and try to grind you out, but that won’t work against a strong wrestler like Brunson. Brunson is also the better striker, so he has the advantages pretty much anywhere this fight goes except maybe in the chin department. This is a good matchup for Brunson to get a win in, and I expect him to be a large favorite heading into this bout.


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