For Wednesday’s MMA Odds and Ends, I’ll give my thoughts on the latest fight announcements in the UFC world. KJ Noons vs. Alex Oliveira, UFC Fight Night 67 Yan Cabral is injured and out of his UFC Fight Night 67 fight against KJ Noons, and now the UFC has called upon Alex Oliveira to fill the void. The card takes place May 30 at Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil, and Cabral vs. Noons is expected to take place on the main card. To be honest I prefer this replacement matchup over the original fight. I didn’t really understand why Noons was getting a step up in competition to fight Cabral — who is coming off of an impressive submission win over Naoyuki Kotani — after his No Contest to Daron Cruickshank, a fight he was losing up until an eye poke. I think from a win/loss point-of-view this Noons vs. Oliveira fight makes more sense because Oliveira is coming off of a loss to Gilbert Burns, but it was a fight where he was competitive in and where he showed he’s not some scrub, but actually a legit lightweight fighter. Stylistically, this is a also much better fight. Cabral is a grappler and would have styled on Noons had that fight hit the mat, which is likely would have. Oliveira, on the other hand, is a rangy kickboxer with finishing ability and Noons is a short-range boxer with big-time power. With neither guy having much in the way of grappling in their arsenals, this fight is more than likely going to play out on the feet for 15 minutes or less, and that means the fans will be the winners because both of these guys know how to throw down, and I expect this to be a “Fight of the Night” candidate when it’s all said and done. As far as the odds go, Noons is most likely going to be the favorite here because he is the bigger name and has had a full training camp leading up to this card. But I’m kind of leaning towards Oliveira here. He’s the younger fighter and he has has a longer reach and was ultra impressive against a stud prospect in Burns. The fact it’s in Brazil also benefits him, and he’s also taken much less damage than Noons in his career. I expect most to favor Noons, but I really do think Oliveira has a good shot here. Regardless of who wins, though, it should be a good fight, and I’m really looking forward to it.
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