UFC 211 takes place this weekend in Dallas, Texas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Stipe Miocic vs Junior dos Santos
The last time these two heavyweights clashed in the Octagon it proved to be an extremely competitive five-round stand-up war, with JDS emerging with his hand raised, but how will it unfold in the rematch two and a half years later?
There’s no reason to suggest it’s going to be anything other than another close fight. Miocic has been in terrific form since, finishing all four of his fights by strikes as he climed to the summit of the heavyweight ladder. JDS has been far less active, but is perhaps all the better for it after a rough few years and looked rejuvenated in his win over Ben Rothwell last year.
Nevertheless, JDS has definitely undergone a lot more punishment than Miocic over the years, particularly with his two beatdowns against Cain Velasquez, while Alistair Overeem also TKO’d him in late 2015, so there will still be concerns over his chin on Saturday night.
Still, Dos Santos is an excellent boxer with both technique and power and his footwork looked excellent last time out, though he has shown a tendency to be cornered under pressure at times in the past.
Miocic is also a very good boxer, though I would give a slight edge to JDS technically. Miocic has an excellent chin though, is riding high on confidence and seems to have more belief in his knockout power than before.
The champion is the better wrestler of the two and perhaps he’ll be looking to utilize that to gain the upperhand, but that’ll be easier said than done as JDS has always shown strong takedown defense.
It really is an exceptionally close match-up, and I think it could well play out much like the first fight, as they slug it out for the full 25 minutes. I’m leaning towards Miocic getting the nod at the end this time around though as I think he can hurt JDS, and also the Brazilian’s face has a tendency to bleed and swell easily, which may influence judges who are struggling to decide between them.
Stipe Miocic to win by decision.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Andrade
This is going to be another really interesting test for Jedrzejczyk as Andrade is a relentless, aggressive striker with big power.
Jedrzejczyk is a tremendous talent on the feet though, showing an excellent sense of distance, timing and cardio as she repeatedly fires off clinical, rapid-fire combinations of strikes.
Andrade has the harder punches and the champion has been dropped before, but Jedrejczyk is a striking technician, and so she’ll have to utilize every ounce of her skill here to pick out the cleaner shots and avoid the incoming artillery in the whirlwind exchanges that are sure to come.
Andrade also has solid wrestling, but Jedrzejczyk’s takedown defense and ability to get back up to her feet is something to behold, so that likely won’t play much of a factor in this fight.
There’s no doubt this is a dangerous fight for Jedrzeczyk. Andrade has a real chance to hurt her, but I think the champion will show her toughness to battle through any adversity, will piece together the more accurate offense and also will do a better job of maintaining her pace for the full five rounds in order to edge out a decision victory.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win by decision.
Demian Maia vs Jorge Masvidal
Another intriguing match-up here, with Maia being right on the verge of a title shot after an impressive winning run at welterweight, while Masvidal is also in fine form and sees this as a fight that could propel him into title contention.
Since Maia moved to welterweight and also got back to focusing on what he’s best at – grappling, he’s been in terrific form and his world class BJJ game has proven to be a nightmare for almost everybody he’s faced.
Maia’s striking has never really risen above mediocrity though, and Masvidal will be looking to capitalize on that as he’s gifted on the feet, possessing excellent counter-striking, while he’s also shown a willingess to be more aggressive recently and that, together with a move up in weight has led to a mark increase in his ability to finish fights.
As much as he likes to strike, there’s more to Masvidal’s game than just that. He’s actually a well-rounded fighter who’s surprisingly crafty on the ground, though it remains to be seen how that will stand up to Maia’s elite skills.
It’s a terrific fight and one that both men have a chance of emerging victorious from. Very few people have been able to stand up to Maia’s ground game when he chooses to use it though, so I think he’ll be able to control masvidal on the mat, if not get the submission finish.
Demian Maia to win by decision.
Frankie Edgar vs Yair Rodriguez
This great card continues to deliver fascinating stylistic match-ups, and it should be fun to watch how the savvy veteran Edgar fares against the creative offense of rising star Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is a problem for anyone in the division given how effortlessly he can deliver spectacular, eye-catching, yet effective striking techniques – particularly kicks – in a non-telegraphed manner.
This is a big step up in competition for the Mexican though – let’s not forget that just two fights ago he scraped a split decision win over Alex Caceras. Now he’s facing Edgar, who it’s worth pointing out has only lost to Jose Aldo and Ben Henderson in the past nine years.
To an extent Edgar’s striking game could play into Rodriguez’s hands though. The Mexican likes space to operate, and ‘The Answer’ does tend to work from a distance – darting in and out with point-scoring offense.
Edgar moves tirelessly though, so he’ll be a hard target for Rodriguez to hit, and he also has a very good wrestling game, which could be a big plus point if he is struggling in the striking exchanges.
The UFC could have a real star on their hands if Rodriguez is able to overcome Edgar, but I’m not convinced he’ll be able to get the better of such an experienced, consumate pro, so I’m taking ‘The Answer’ to earn a win on the scorecards.
Frankie Edgar to win by decision.
David Branch vs Krzysztof Jotko
The late cancellation of Henry Cejudo Vs Sergio Pettis means that the returning David Branch gets an immediate outing on PPV opposite the in-form Jotko.
Branch steps back into the Octagon after making a big impression in the WSOF promotion, winning their 185lb and 205lb titles and he’s a solid, dependable all-rounder with grappling as his forte.
Jotko is also a reliable performer, having gone 6-1 in the UFC to date, and having only tasted defeat once in his 20 fight career. He’s a good striker, is hard to take down and is a handful when he gets on top.
This should be a competitive fight, but I think Jotko might spoil Branch’s return by managing to keep the action standing for the most part and edging him out in the striking exchanges.
Krzysztof Jotko to win by decision.
Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier
Jason Knight vs Chas Skelly
Marco Polo Reyes vs. James Vick
Jessica Aguilar vs Cortney Casey
Enrique Barzola vs Gabriel Benitez
Jared Gordon vs Michel Quinones
Rashad Coulter vs Chase Sherman
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs Joachim Christensen