The UFC yesterday announced two new fights for their next two PPV cards, and for today’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll give my quick thoughts on both. Takanori Gomi vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg, UFC 172 “The Fireball Kid” is back. The UFC yesterday announced that former PRIDE star Takanori Gomi will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon at next month’s UFC 172 event, where he will take on veteran Isaac Vallie-Flagg in a lightweight bout. Vallie-Flagg had originally been scheduled to face Danny Castillo on the UFC 172 preliminary card, but Castillo was removed from the bout with Vallie-Flagg for unknown reasons. However, Castillo will remain on the card, and it’s expected his new opponent will be announced in the next few days. As far as the matchup between Gomi and Vallie-Flagg goes, this really looks like a fight designed to give Gomi a chance to get back in the win column. Although Vallie-Flagg is a tough out for anyone, Gomi is one of the heaviest hitters in the UFC lightweight division and in his last fight against Diego Sanchez, a controversial split decision loss, he proved he can still take on the top 15 lightweights in the world and remain competitive with them. Vallie-Flagg, meanwhile, is coming off a drubbing to little-known Elias Silverio and it doesn’t look like he’ll make an impact in the UFC after his successful run in Strikeforce prior to entering the Octagon. As far as the line goes, Gomi should be a big favorite here, perhaps as high as 3-to-1. That might seem high at first, but considering Vallie-Flagg isn’t a fighter who gets much respect from the betting public don’t be surprised if you do indeed see Gomi juiced up when the betting lines for this match are released next month. Bubba McDaniel vs. Sean Strickland, UFC 171 Following an injury to Swede Tor Troeng, highly-touted prospect Sean Strickland has received the call up from the minors on short notice as he takes on TUF 17 veteran Bubba McDaniel at next week’s UFC 171 event. This is an interesting matchup but for me the key is that Strickland took it on very short notice, while McDaniel had a full training camp. Although I don’t feel like McDaniel is anything special, he does train at a good camp in Jackson’s and he does have UFC experience. The undefeated Strickland, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since a bout last year in King of the Cage, where he had been facing less-than-stellar opposition. This is a tough fight to line because McDaniel doesn’t get much respect from the betting public but I think he should be the favorite here, perhaps as high as 2-to-1. But we’ll see next week exactly how the line opens, and where the public takes it.