UFC 211 – First super card of the year
This weekend the American Airlines centre in Dallas Texas plays host to the biggest UFC card of the year so far with all of the UFC’s biggest PPV stars currently on the missing list with guys like Conor McGregor,Jon Jones & GSP all without fights booked the UFC are looking to Heavyweight king Baddest man on the planet Stipe Miocic coming off his TKO victory over former K-1 Grand Prix Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem in what was a one round thriller.
Starting this article with one of the most exciting match up’s on the card between two top contenders in the Featherweight division exciting highlight reel knockout artist Yair Rodriguez coming off the destruction of UFC Hall of famer BJ Penn Yair is looking to jump up in the rankings when he takes on No.3 Ranked featherweight and former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.since winning TUF Latin America Yair has went 5-0 in the UFC with his most noteable wins coming against BJ Penn,Andre Fili & Alex Caceres and he will have a significant height & reach advantage against Frankie but lets be honest …When was the last time Edgar fought anyone who did not have a height and reach advantage ? Frankie’s constant movement and ability to chain from striking to wrestling and back to striking but in all honesty what impresses me the most about Frankie Edgar is his heart in pretty much every Edgar fight he ends up in some sort of trouble but has never been stopped inside the UFC his 2nd fight with Gray Maynard he ate big shots got dropped 3 or 4 times and came back to draw a 5 round battle then win the rematch via TKO most recently his last fight with Jeremy Stephens hands down one of the most vicious power strikers at 145lbs Frankie ate a huge shin to chin headkick in the 2nd round he recovered and won Via Unanimous Decision.This is a very exciting clash of styles with the long,rangey,unorthadox striker taking on the short,constant movement,wrestler i am very excited for this fight.
Next up we have the Welterweight title eliminator fight between arguably the best pure grappler in MMA today Demian Maia who has went 9-2 since moving to 170lbs with his only losses coming to Former UFC title challenger Rory Macdonald & another one of the best grapplers in MMA and in my opinion of of the most under-rated fighters to fight in the UFC Jake Shields in what was a very close fight.Since that fight with Rory Macdonald he has smoked everyone put infront of him knocking top contenders like Matt Brown,Gunnar Nelson and probably the most impressive win of his career coming against Carlos Condit last August and was supposed to be getting the next title shot after that win before the Woodley-Thompson Draw at UFC 205 so it forced Maia to wait.The man standing in the way of the BJJ ace learned his craft in the Kimbo Slice days of Bareknuckle boxing in the backyards of Miami he truly has become exactly what his nickname is “Gambred” he deals with everything head on a Veteran of 43 Professional MMA fights he really flows between the different phases of the fight very well.One of my favourite fighters to watch since his fights back in StrikeForce but lately since moving upto 170lbs he has looked like a violent fighter with a chip on his shoulder since losing back to back split decsions against Lorenz Larkin and former UFC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson since then you can see a consious change in his style he has put his foot on the gas more and doing so taking wins against Ross Pearson,Jake Ellenberger and most recently knocking out Donald Cerrone in the 2nd round in Denver.This fight i am totally on the fence I can see it going both ways i could easily imagine Maia Ragdolling Jorge to the mat and submitting him early but on the flipside i could see Jorge defending the early takedowns and him getting a stoppage towards the 3rd round one thing is for certain we will have a new No.1 Contender in the Welterweight division the champion Tyron Woodley will be paying very close attention to this fight.
Now we have our first UFC Title bout of the evening when Womens Straweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Brazilian top contender Hard hitting Jessica Andrade .We are starting with the challanger 16-5 as a Professional but has went 3-0 since dropping to the Strawweight division standing at 5’2 she is one of the shortest girls in the division but she almost reminds me of a Female John Lineker “Hands of stone” and in my opinion nobody should use that nickname apart from the great Roberto Duran but in Linekers case the nickname fits Both Lineker & Andrade like to walk forward stalking there foe cutting the cage off before unleashing punches in bunches to the head and body and since dropping to Strawweight you can see a noticeable difference in the snap on Andrade’s punches Dan Hardy put it very well saying “She has almost gone from a Revolver to a Machine Gun dropping the 20lbs” putting 3 wins against very good fighters like Jessica Penne,Scottlands Joanne Calderwood and Former Invicta FC champion Angela Hill with a Unanimous Decision win in what was a very Duran-Leonard style of fight with the short pocket fighter trying to close the distance on the tall out fighter.Moving onto the Champion and one of the most vicious well rounded strikers in all of MMA Joanna Jedrzejczyk i remember watching her stop Rosi Sexton back at CageWarriors 69 in 2014 and thinking wow that is a future champion right there.Joanna has only looked more dangerous since entering the UFC going 7-0 her volume striking and mentality of trying to break her opponant down is so entertaining to watch possibily one of the most well conditioned athletes to ever step foot inside the UFC I dont think i have ever seen her even take a deep breathe in a fight let alone gass after 10 years of compettitive Muay Thai experiance she is hands down the best pure striker in her division with a well rounded style an excellent stiff jab she throws her teep kicks to the body & head with violent intent.Both women i would consider Volume punchers but in totally different ways Andrade is more of a bull charge forward and throw shots that may not be open just to pressure her opponant as were Joanna is a much more calculated set combonation striker and will look for openings and pick her shots accordingly but at heart she is a dutch style kickboxer and against Andrade that might get her in trouble because i believe to beat someone with Andrades style Joanna needs to use her jab and evasive footwork but her style she does not like to take a backstep and could possibily get lured into a slug fest.
Finally we have the most prestiges title in all of combat sports weather it be Boxing,Kickboxing or Mixed Martial Arts there is something quite special about a Heavyweight title fight two of the baddest men on the planet meeting to find out who the baddest is.Junior Dos Santos at 24 years of age burst onto the scene viciously knocking out Fabricio Werdum in 2008 he would go onto win another six fights before meeting then champion Cain Velasquez who he knocked out in 61 seconds infront of nine million TV viewers.Junior brung a skill set not many Heavyweights had seen before in a time when the division was full of guys like Shane Carwin & brock Lesnar who cut weight to make the 265lb limit JDS walked out the scale at around 240lbs but his hand speed and boxing skills is what set him apart from the rest.After another Two brutal fights with Cain Velasquez in what would turn out to be one of the best Trilogy fights in MMA JDS however would come up short against Cain but showed the kind of championship heart not many men on the planet poses.December 13th 2014 the first time these two men met eachother inside the Octogon in this 5 round battle with Stipe winning the early rounds by coming underneath Junior’s leaping lead hand hooks to instinstigating clinch exchanges both me landed big shots early but Stipe doing a great job of landing strikes on the break of the clinch exchanges.Going into the third Stipe was ahead by 2 rounds but looked drastically slower than the previous round now just plodding forward Junior caught him coming in totally square with a check left hook that sent Miocic to the canvas the tide started to turn from that point and Junior began to put his shots together mixing his levels of attack very well.The fight basically turned into a boxing match with MMA gloves with Junior Dos Santos getting the Unanimous decision win.However this loss is what started Stipe Miocic’s run towards the title when he fought Mark Hunt next in the 5th round then flattening Andrei Arlovski inside 60 seconds Stipe would then meet UFC Heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum who he would stop in the very first round to win the title and then do the same to top contender Alistair Overeem …Now he gets the change to run it back with Junior Dos Santos the last man to hand him a loss will we see a repeat of their last bout or will the rematch paint a different picture all together.
Noteable Mentions –
Kicking off the main card Krzysztof Jotko riding a 5 fight win streak with wins over Thales Leites & Englishman Bradley Scott the Polish Middleweight welcomes WSOF 185lb & 205lb champion Dave Branch back in for his 2nd stint in the UFC since his departure in 2011 with his only loss since then being against UFC Light Heavyweight Title challenger and vicious knockout artist Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.Branch has picked up impressive wins against Yushin Okami,Paulo Filho & Vinny Magalhaes under the WSOF banner and many MMA fans are excited to see how he stacks up against the worlds elite.
Eddie Alverez vs Dustin Porrier headling the fox sports prelims Eddie Alverez looking to bounce back from his UFC 205 loss to Conor Mcgregor when he takes on the always game Dustin Porrier.Porrier has always came up short when he gets that step up in compettition so he will be looking to prove the doubters wrong and make a statement against Eddie Alverez this has all the making to be an absolute battle.
And going under the radar and my pick for “Fight of the night” Jason Knight aka “Hick Diaz” takes on Chas Skelly.Knight has picked up 3 straight wins against Jim Alers,Dan Hooker & Alex Caceres with his agressive face forward style and impressive Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu he will look to move up in the rankings when he takes on Chas Skelly No.20 Ranked featherweight coming off his win over Chris Gruetzemacher and a very slick 19 second anaconda choke against Maximo Blanco his only two losses in his pro career have came aginst Darren Elkins & Mirsad Bektic.