MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: MacDonald/Woodley Official For UFC 174

UFC-156 The UFC yesterday announced three new matchups for upcoming fight cards in Canada, and for today’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll briefly break the fights down and give my initial thoughts on them. Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley, UFC 174 The UFC yesterday announced that Tyron Woodley has signed a new eight-fight deal with the promotion and in his first fight on the deal he’ll take on Rory MacDonald in a likely No. 1 contender’s bout at UFC 174, which takes place in June in Vancouver, BC, Canada. This fight has been rumored for a few weeks now so this announcement comes as no surprise, but it’s nice to see the bout is finally inked and official. It’s a great matchup on paper between an explosive wrestler with knockout power and a technical, all-around fighter, and I would definitely expect the winner to be knocking on the door for a title shot when it’s over. It’s a close fight on paper and either man could be realistically favored going into it. I see the line being close to a Pick ’em when it does open, and as of right now I have absolutely no lean whatsoever as the fight is just too close to call in my opinion, and we still don’t know if it’s three or five rounds yet, which could be the deciding factor for many in who they pick to win. Sarah Kaufman vs. Leslie Smith 2, TUF Nations Finale An injury to Amanda Nunes forced her out of next week’s fight against Sarah Kaufman, but UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby rallied to find a replacement and he found a good one as former Invicta FC star Leslie Smith will make her Octagon debut and take on Kaufman in a rematch at the TUF Nations Finale. The pair first met in Invicta about a year ago, where they put on a back-and-forth standup war that saw Kaufman win a highly-controversial split decision. Most observers, including myself, though that Smith deserved to win the fight, but the judges gave it to Kaufman that night. Now, though, Smith will have her chance to avenge the loss, and this rematch should be nothing but exciting. It is disappointing that Smith only has a week to train for Kaufman, but considering she’s one of those fighters who is always in shape and ready to go and considering she has proven her cardio is stellar at 135lbs, she should still be a very tough out for Kaufman next week. Look for Kaufman to enter as a 2-to-1 favorite or slightly higher, but don’t count Smith out and don’t be surprised if these two put on FOTN next week in Quebec City. Mark Bocek vs. Mike De La Torre, TUF Nations Finale And finally, due to an injury to Evan Dunham, Mark Bocek has a new opponent for the TUF Nations Finale, as he’ll now take on UFC newcomer Mike De La Torre in a lightweight bout. I don’t know much about De La Torre, but he has won three fights in a row including a submission victory over Strikeforce vet James Terry, and the UFC obviously think he’s ready for the big show if they signed him to fight Bocek, a long-time veteran of the Octagon. And it’s a winnable fight for him too, in my opinion, as Bocek has been out for a year-and-a-half due to various injuries and definitely seems to be declining as a fighter. Will one week be enough notice for De La Torre to be prepared for Bocek? I’m not sure, but even without knocking much about him I do feel like he has a shot to win this fight because Bocek is definitely on the decline and an upset in this spot wouldn’t shock me in the slightest.

Written by Adam Martin.

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