UFC 211 – TIPS FOR TOP BOUTS
MMA event UFC 211 is less than a fortnight away and will be held at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas, Texas. Following the largely disappointing 210 event, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has put together a strong card for its next event. Here is a look at the five main bouts lined up on the event schedule for the night.
Stipe Miocic vs Junior dos Santos
These two have already met once before, back in 2014, with dos Santos coming out on top. However, since then, Miocic’s combination of dynamic attributes and athleticism has allowed him to climb to the top of the heavyweight division, becoming champion last year when he defeated Fabrício Werdum via knock-out in the first round.
He successfully defended the belt against Alistair Overeem eight months ago and now goes into a second bout against dos Santos with the stakes raised significantly. Dos Santos’ strength is his hand speed and, should he be able to put it to good effect, he can outbox his opponent to take the belt.
For that to happen, however, dos Santos must ensure that the fight remains upright, as well as ensuring he is physically fit enough to last 25 gruelling minutes. The longer this fight goes on, the more likely it is that the champion, as his opponent tires, will be able to take the contest down to the mat and retain his recently won title.
Odds: Stipe Miocic (1.70), Junior dos Santos (2.20)
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Andrade
By dropping weight divisions, Andrade has managed to assert herself as the next contender to Jedrzejczyk’s crown. The Brazilian is renowned for her sheer ferocity inside the ring, and will certainly provide a stern examination of the defending champion’s credentials. If she is to win, it is likely that she will have to end the contest early in what has become a trademark flurry of aggression.
It will be no mean feat though. Jedrzejczyk won the belt in 2015 and has established herself at the top of the UFC roster. She is yet to be defeated and has successfully retained the title on four occasions already, creating around herself somewhat of an aura of invincibility, meaning she goes into the bout as the favourite.
Odds: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (1.58), Jessica Andrade (2.40)
Demian Maia vs Jorge Masvidal
Like Jessica Andrade, Maia has dropped down the weight divisions to establish himself on the UFC roster, winning his last six bouts at welterweight, largely thanks to his ability to out-grapple opponents.
Masvidal could well offer some resistance via his high levels of aggression and rapid strikes. Like his adversary at 211, he has also given his career a push start having swapped weight divisions, and came out on top over the much-fancied Donald Cerrone back in January with an impressive second round knock-out. However, the smart money here would be on a seventh straight success for the hardened Maia.
Odds: Demian Maia (2.00), Jorge Masvidal (1.80)
Frankie Edgar vs Yair Rodriguez
Rodriguez shot to stardom when he won The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 1. He is a highly skilled fighter who is not afraid to take risks inside the cage, meaning his marketing potential is huge. Given the popularity of UFC in the region where he won The Ultimate Fighter, his possibilities within the company may seem limitless.
However, he is coming up against the far more experienced Frankie Edgar, who has 27 fights under his belt compared to Rodriguez’s 11. This fight may have come slightly too early for the young and hungry Rodriguez, and Edgar should take the bout, regardless of whether or not it lasts the distance.
Odds: Frankie Edgar (1.62), Yair Rodriguez (2.30)
Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis
Cejudo had been in excellent form until a surprise defeat to Joseph Benavidez stopped him in his tracks. Conversely, his opponent Pettis has slowly been building momentum as this fight approaches, with impressive victories over Chris Cariaso and John Moraga.
With the two fighters seemingly heading in opposite directions in the company, this contest comes at what could be deemed a pivotal moment in both men’s careers. Cejudo needs to show that his defeat to Benavidez was merely a slip-up on the long and winding road to glory. Pettis needs to build on the success he has enjoyed recently if he is to become a key player in the MMA industry, and this should be one of the most interesting contests on the entire card.
Despite that defeat, Cejudo should have enough in the tank and his repertoire to show that it was just a hiccup.
Odds: Henry Cejudo (1.25), Sergio Pettis (4.00)
Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier
Alvarez is looking to steady himself after a more than eventful 2016. He shocked UFC by knocking out Rafael dos Anjos to take the lightweight title in July. However, he subsequently lost it to Conor McGregor in his first defence just five months later.
He is now looking to get his career back on track against Dustin Poirier, something which will certainly be easier said than done. Poirier has lost just one bout since moving to the lightweight division and it will be a very close-run contest. However, Alvarez, known for his strong boxing skills, should be able to see him off.
Odds: Eddie Alvarez (1.90), Dustin Poirier (1.90)