After a tough start to the year, UFC 211 was billed as the promotion’s biggest fight card of the year so far and it didn’t disappoint.
The event was headlined by a UFC heavyweight title fight between champion, Stipe Miocic, and challenger, Junior dos Santos. The first encounter between the two is widely considered one of the greatest UFC heavyweight fights of all time and it ended with the Brazilian, dos Santos getting his hand raised.
It was a much different fight this time around though and not even one full round was needed.
Dos Santos started the contest well and landed two stiff legs kicks that seemed to unsettle Miocic on his feet. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, that was all the success he had, as Miocic quickly set about his work and pushed dos Santos’ back up against the cage. After several close near misses, the champion finally landed with a clean right hand to the chin and the Brazilian crumpled to the mat. The referee gave dos Santos the opportunity to improve his position, but Miocic poured on the ground and pound and the referee called the fight to an end.
The fight was short, sharp, but definitely sweet for Miocic who with his victory tied the record of most UFC heavyweight title defenses.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk puts on a masterclass against Jessica Andrade
In the co-main event, UFC strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, faced another Brazilian challenger, Jessica Andrade, in a fight that many tipped for ‘Fight of the Night’ heading in.
Andrade showed few signs of nerves in the early minutes and managed to land a nice left hand on the forehead of the champion causing a big hematoma to swell up above Jedrzejczyk’s left eye. Andrade landed a few takedowns during the round, but on each occasion, Jedrzejczyk sprung back to her feet and she landed a nice left head kick and some elbows before the round was over.
The second round was a very different story as Jedrzejczyk settled to her task and found her rhythm. The champion peppered Andrade with jabs for the entire round and found a home with her left hand often and with power. With seconds left in the second, Jedrzejczyk landed another big left kick and knee to the face, but Andrade ate it well and even fired back with a right hand of her own before the bell.
In round three, Jedrzejczyk’s dominance continued. The Polish champion continued to land often with her punches and the significant strikes total moved past the 100-mark midway through the round. Andrade looked to be in big trouble as the round was coming to a close, but Brazilian bravely bit down on her gumshield and continued to walk forward through Jedrzejczyk’s relentless pressure.
A pattern had emerged at this point and nothing changed in the championship rounds. Jedrzejczyk continued to counter and punish Andrade every time the Brazilian came into range. Andrade simply had no answer for Jedrzejczyk’s superior striking technique and the Polish champion saw out the remaining ten minutes with little trouble.
Unsurprisingly, all three judges scored the fight to the champion 50-45, 50-44, 50-45. Jedrzejczyk threw an incredible 361 strikes, landed 215 and never looked in trouble. It was nothing short of a masterclass by the champion.
Demian Maia edges out Jorge Masvidal
There was plenty on the line between Demian Maia and Jorge Masvidal as UFC President Dana announced before the fight that the winner would receive the next shot at UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley.
Maia started round one as many expected and he quickly took the back of Masvidal and rode him like a backpack. Masvidal defended the back take well though and before the round was over, he managed to reverse the position and land some shots before the bell.
Round two was a little more even as both fighter showed signs of fatigue from their efforts in the opening five minutes. Maia looked to get the takedown early in the round, but Masvidal sprawled well and landed some nice strikes with some stiff leg and body kicks finding a home. With two minutes to go, Maia finally took Masvidal down to the mat again and controlled him well, but the Brazilian failed to do any significant damage before the round was up.
The final round went much like the previous. Masvidal enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, but with two and a half minutes left, Maia got his man down and took his back once again. Maia sunk in his hooks and looked for the submission, but Masvidal defended well once again and rode the clock out to hear the final bell.
It was then all up to the judges who after a tense paused ruled it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 in the favor of Maia, the winner via a split decision.
Frankie Edgar dominates Yair Rodriguez
Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar proved to the world that there is still plenty of life left in him yet as he dismantled hot prospect Yair Rodriguez. The young Mexican simply couldn’t get his flashy striking style going and Edgar quickly shut him down with his takedowns and ground and pound. Midway through the first round, Edgar landed a huge elbow on the left eye of Rodriguez and from there, it was all downhill from the Mexican.
Rodriguez’s eye swelled up to the point he couldn’t see out of it and at the end of the second round, the doctor called an end to the fight. It was a vintage performance by Edgar who will no doubt have an eye on Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway who meet at UFC 212 to unify the UFC featherweight title.
Highlight performances on the preliminary card came from Cortney Casey who outstruck Jessica Aguilar over three rounds, James Vick who finished Marco Polo Reyes in the first round, and Chase Sherman who put on a barnburner of a heavyweight fight with Rashad Coulter.
Unfortunately, the night didn’t pass without controversy. The prelim featured bout between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier ended with the fight being ruled a no contest off referee Herb Dean ruled that Alvarez inadvertently threw illegal knees to the head of Poirier when he was grounded. Up until that point, the fight was incredible. Poirier looked to be within seconds of stopping Alvarez after landing a left flush on his chin, but somehow Alvarez fought back and landed his own counter left to wobble the legs of the American Top Team man.
Unfortunately, the action ended just as it was peaking as the Alvarez proceeded to land the illegal knees. Despite the controversy, both men showed great class after the fight and said it was just an unfortunate occurrence.
UFC 211 Full Results
Stipe Miocic def. Junior dos Santos via TKO in Round 1.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Jessica Andrade via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-45)
Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Frankie Edgar def. Yair Rodriguez via TKO (doctor stoppage) after 5:00 of Round 2.
David Branch def. Krzysztof Jotko via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier declared a no-contest due to an accidental knee.
Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly via TKO (punches), Round 3, 0:39
Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter via TKO (kitchen sink), Round 2, 3:36
James Vick def. Marco Polo Reyes via TKO (punches). Round 1, 2:35
Cortney Casey def. Jessica Aguilar via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Enrique Barzola def. Gabriel Benitez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Joachim Christensen via submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:21
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