UFC 211 promises to be the biggest and best UFC event so far this year. The event is headlined by the heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Junior Dos Santos, and co-headlined by the women’s strawweight title fight between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade. On top of these two title fights UFC 211 also includes some other very interesting big name fights including Maia vs Masvidal, Edgar vs Rodriguez, Cejudo vs Pettis and Alvarez vs Poirier.
Stipe Miocic vs Junior Dos Santos
Stipe is an interesting champ. He’s on a four fight winning streak, including finishes over top fighters in his last 3 fights, but he still doesn’t get the respect that you might expect from a champion. Take this fight for example. Miocic is only a very small favourite against Dos Santos, a guy who lost to Overeem by TKO two fights ago, a guy Stipe finished in the first round in his last title defense.
I expected Miocic to be a bigger favourite, but that’s not because I personally think he will win this fight. I don’t. I just thought I would be able to get a better price on Dos Santos, which is somewhat upsetting. Miocic and Dos Santos fought back in December of 2014 with Dos Santos winning the fight via decision. In that fight Dos Santos was able to pressure Miocic and force him to gas in the five round fight. Dos Santos looked very solid in his most recent fight with Ben Rothwell and I think he has the ability to push the pace with Miocic once again. If he can avoid the knockout I think Dos Santos has the better boxing and should be able to get the better of the exchanges on the feet and also have the superior cardio if this fight goes late.
Miocic definitely has the ability to get another early finish, but I’m not convinced he has the cardio to hang with Dos Santos for 5 rounds, and I think Junior’s mobility will allow him to avoid the big punch if he’s smart early in this fight.
Play: Dos Santos +107
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Andrade
Joanna has now won 4 title defenses in the UFC. Looking back the only fight I truly thought she may lose was the rematch with Claudia Gadelha. Against Kowalkiewicz, Letournea and Penne she was a massive favourite and rightfully so. In my opinion, Jessica Andrade is the second woman to truly pose a threat to her title reign.
Andrade has the power and the always pushing forward mentality to do damage in this fight. She will also be the bigger fighter, having come down from bantamweight a few fights back.
All of that said, Joanna is the champ for a reason. She has some of the best combinations and boxing in the women’s divisions and puts a relentless pressure on her opponents. This will be the case of two ladies going extremely hard, slinging hands at one another.
We haven’t seen Andrade go 5 rounds yet, so that’s a question mark, but she didn’t slow down at all against Angela Hill in a fight where she pressured from the get-go. Andrade has the power advantage and also has ability to finish fights on the ground. Her three wins in the strawweight division have been over much weaker opponents than Joanna, but for some reason I still give her the edge. If she is able to close the distance she will be landing some big power punches that could really hurt Joanna.
Play: Andrade +142
Frankie Edgar vs Yair Rodriguez
I’m betting against each of the two current champs in the title fight, but that’s where the trend stops because I’m not going against former champ Frankie Edgar here. Edgar is an absolute beast who doesn’t get the credit he deserves in the featherweight division. He’s now 6-1 in his last 7 fights and has beaten the who’s who of the featherweight division outside of Jose Aldo. This includes big names like Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber and Cub Swanson.
Yair is a legitimate prospect, but this is an absolutely massive jump for him. Yes, he destroyed an over the hill BJ Penn, who was content with being a punching bag in their fight, but before that he barely squeaked out a split decision against Alex Cacares. His other UFC wins aren’t anymore impressive with Fili, Hooker and Rosa on his win list. Rodriguez has not faced a ranked featherweight in his career and now he’s jumping all the way up to Edgar. Talk about biting off more than you can chew.
Rodriguez is a very exciting and unpredictable striker, but I expect Edgar to be able to figure him out and get this fight to the mat where he will do a lot of work and ground and pound Rodriguez into submission.
I will have plenty of action on Edgar in this fight. He should really be a 3/1 or bigger favourite.
Play: Edgar -140
Demian Maia vs Jorge Masvidal
Maia opened as a big favourite with odds of -125, but he’s since been bet up to a slight underdog at odds of +106. I understand why this has happened. People think that Masvidal’s takedown defense will be strong enough to keep this fight standing where Masvidal will have a significant advantage. I’m not convinced.
Masvidal has shown improved takedown defense of late, avoiding takedowns against Cerrone in his last fight, but before that Pearson, Larkin, Henderson and Ferreira each all secured at least one takedown against Masvidal in their fights. The way Maia has improved his submission offense, I think he may only need one takedown to secure a finish on Masvidal. And even if he isn’t able to get the finish, it will only take a takedown in two rounds to secure a decision win for Maia.
People always underestimate Maia, but his chain wrestling is some of the best in the UFC and if he can close the distance I do expect him to be able to get this fight to the mat and go to work.
Play: Maia +106
Dustin Poirier vs Eddie Alvarez
I was one of the many people who thought that Alvarez was gifted his title shot. He was given that RDA fight on the back of two split decision wins over fighters who have really not impressed of late in Melendez and Pettis. Before those fights he lost to Donald Cerrone in his UFC debut, so it wasn’t exactly a great start to his UFC career with those 3 fights. He then gets lucky and lands a big shot on RDA, who later admitted he really shouldn’t have taken the fight based on his extremely poor weight cut. Alvarez then gets in their with McGregor and is completely outclassed.
I see Alvarez as a lightweight who is probably around the 10th best in the division, but had some buzz behind him from Bellator and squeaked out a couple split decision before getting lucky in his title shot. He’s simply not very good.
Poirier, on the other hand, is the real deal. He has looked very solid at lightweight with big wins over Ferreira, Medeiros, Duffy, Green and Miller, with the only slip up as a knockout loss to Michael Johnson. Poirier will have the advantage on the feet against Alvarez and I think his wrestling is strong enough to keep this fight standing against Alvarez, who will want to turn this into a dog fight with plenty of wrestling shots.
I expect Poirier to keep this fight on the feet and actually get the knockout over the overrated Alvarez.
Play: Poirier -113
- Cejudo -350