Three new bouts have been announced, including a new main event for UFC Berlin, and for today’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll give my thoughts on all three. Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi, UFC 187 Following an injury to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Donald Cerrone will now take on short-notice replacement John Makdessi at UFC 187, which takes place May 23 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s disappointing Cerrone vs. Nurmagomedov was scrapped, but this is a decent consolation prize, although the matchup itself doesn’t make much sense. Cerrone has won seven fights in a row and is closing in on a title shot while Makdessi is only on a one-fight win streak. Of course, Makdessi just fought at UFC 186 and looked amazing, and with Cerrone needing a new opponent there were likely slim picking, but still, Cerrone is top 5 in the world while Makdessi would be lucky to break the top 25. Despite the rankings, Makdessi can win this fight just because he’s such a technical striker and Cerrone always gets tagged on the feet, but considering Cerrone’s improvements during his recent win streak it’s hard not to go with him here, and I expect him to be a big favorite heading into this fight. Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Penne, UFC Fight Night 69 Alexander Gustafsson is injured and out of his main event fight against Glover Teixiera at UFC Fight Night 69, and now the new main event for the card will be Joanna Jedrzejczyk taking on Jessica Penne in her first defence of the UFC women’s strawweight title. The card takes place June 20 at O2 World in Berlin, Germany, not far from Jedrzejczyk’s home of Poland. I really like Jedrzejczyk in this fight. Penne is a solid women’s fighter, but she is better suited for the atomweight division, while Jedrzejczyk actually used to compete at flyweight. Penne is a grappler who will be looking to take Jedrzejczyk to the floor, but the Pole has amazing takedown defence and if she can keep this fight on the feet and in her wheelhouse, she’ll pick Penne apart and probably knock her out. I’m very high on Jedrzeczyk and believe this is a really good matchup for her, and I expect her to be a large favorite heading into this one. Gian Villante vs. Tom Lawlor, UFC on FOX 16 And finally, Tom Lawlor will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon as a light heavyweight when he takes on Gian Villante at UFC on FOX 16, which is set to take place July 25 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. I like Lawlor, but I’m curious why he’s moving up to 205lbs after two years away from the sport. He did fight there previously, but that was years ago and light heavyweights are much bigger than they used to be, including a guy like Villante, who used to fight at heavyweight. This seems like a tough fight for Lawlor, who doesn’t have much in the way of standup, and with Villante, a striker with a wrestling background, coming off of a devastating knockout win over Corey Anderson in his most recent bout, he has a lot of momentum coming into this fight. Lawlor is popular among fans and will likely get some respect, but I do lean towards Villante here by quite a bit, and figure he should be the clear favorite heading into this bout.
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