UFC 211: Stipe Miocic delivers on promise to end fight early
DALLAS, TX - Stipe Miocic, left, fights against Junior Dos Santos in their Heavyweight Title bout during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center on May 13, 2017 in Dallas, Texas.
DALLAS, Texas – Stipe Miocic promised his fight with Junior dos Santos wasn’t going to go five rounds.
For the fourth straight fight, though, the UFC’s heavyweight champion didn’t even need a single round to get the job done, landing a picture-perfect right hand punch that put his Brazilian opponent to sleep and may have established himself as the frontrunner in the conversation for best heavyweight of all time.
Best heavyweight of his generation? That’s not up for debate anymore, not after Miocic avenged his most recent loss – a five round decision to dos Santos in 2014 – in such brutal fashion.
“I am the best in the world,” Miocic said with a smile.
While it would be tempting to say there wasn’t much to the fight and that Miocic simply landed a massive right hand, that would downplay the work the champion has put in.
The Ohio native stalked forward and kept dos Santos with his back against the cage, and seemed to come close to landing a fight-ending blow on at least three occasions in the two minutes and change that the fight lasted.
The final punch that sent dos Santos to the mat was perfectly timed and expertly placed, landing square on the Brazilian’s jaw. Few heavyweights are as technical with their striking as Miocic is, and his improved striking now has him one victory away from holding the longest heavyweight title reign in UFC history.
There are challenges ahead, but for now, the humble firefighter from Ohio has established himself as the unquestioned king of heavyweight.
The thing about Joanna Jedrzejczyk is that she has a tendency to make any opponent who can last five rounds with her look like the toughest fighter in the world.
Most of that, though, comes from the fact that she so thoroughly outclasses her competition that it seems almost impossible that anyone could stand after receiving the sort of damage Jedrzejczyk delivers.
On Saturday night, she did it again, defending her UFC strawweight title with a lopsided, completely dominant victory over Jessica Andrade.
All three judges scored every single round for Jedrzejczyk, and other than a few strong moments in the first round from Andrade there was never any doubt who was getting her hand raised.
“There is only one champion of the world and that’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk from Poland,” the 115 lbs. champion said in the octagon afterwards.
Jedrzejczyk has now won six title fights and has emerged as the single most dominant female fighter in the world. Other than Demetrious Johnson, there aren’t really any men who can claim to be anywhere near as dominant as she is, either.
Against Andrade, Jedrzejczyk simply found her range and hit the Brazilian with stiff jabs, lightning fast head kicks and everything in between. Whenever Andrade moved in and tried to throw a combination, Jedrzejczyk simply circled away.
It never, ever looked as if Jedrzejczyk was going to get caught, and there were multiple shots that could have flattened a lesser woman than Andrade.
To her credit, though, Andrade never stopped moving forward. She may not be on the same level as Jedrzejczyk skills-wise, but she’s as tough as anyone on the UFC roster. Fans won’t forget the grit she showed on Saturday, and when she proposed to her girlfriend in the octagon afterwards it suggested that even if she lost, Andrade had a pretty good night.
As for the strawweight division, it looks like Rose Namajunas is up next. Namajunas is a great fighter, but after Jedrzejczyk’s latest incredible performance, you get the feelings the Vegas odds will be very much in the Polish champion’s favour.
Frankie Edgar wasn’t willing to be a stepping stone for Yair Rodriguez.
Edgar had been repeating that all fight week, clearly aware that Rodriguez is being tapped as one of the UFC next-big-things. Edgar should have been the clear-cut favourite heading into Saturday night’s fight at UFC 211, but there was a creeping sense that the electrifying Rodriguez was ready to knock him off and claim his place as the featherweight champion-in-waiting.
Edgar wasn’t having any of it in interviews, and he wasn’t having any of it in the octagon.
On Saturday night, Edgar absolutely dominated Rodriguez and left little question that while his Mexican opponent still needs to put in work, Edgar should be getting a shot at the winner of next month’s 145 lbs. title unification fight between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway.
“Before the fight, I said no matter what happens (Rodriguez) is going to be a superstar,” Edgar said. “Just not yet.”
Edgar completely dismantled Rodriguez and forced the doctor to stop the fight after the second round due to a massive bulge that had swelled up under Rodriguez’s left eye.
The New Yorker caused the damage by taking Rodriguez to the ground in both rounds and hammering away at his face with a combination of heavy elbows and brutal punches.
The strategy left Rodriguez exposed, while reiterating that not only can Edgar strike with the best in his division, he also has one of the toughest ground-and-pound games anywhere.
Rodriguez’s time may or may not come, and while there’s an excitement in waiting for the next big thing, Edgar serves as a reminder that steady greatness can be just as spectacular.
A couple hours after UFC president Dana White said the winner of his fight against Jorge Masvidal would get the next welterweight title shot, Demian Maia went out and did what he always did.
No, the Brazilian didn’t quite manage to submit Masvidal the way he’s forced so many opponents to tap-out, but he used his world-beating jiu-jitsu to control his younger opponent and gain a split decision on the judges’ scorecards.
It wasn’t the most entertaining fight of the night at UFC 211 -- at least not for casual fans -- but it was a masterclass of octagon control and a reminder that even the most aggressive, powerful opponents can be totally stifled by Maia’s unique set of skills.
“(Masvidal) was one of the best jiu-jitsu fighters that I’ve ever fought in the UFC,” Maia said in the octagon afterwards, before explaining what he’d said to White after the fight. “I said I want to fight for the title and (White) said ‘you got it’.
“It’s a dream come true, I’ve been working so hard for it.”
Maia has now won seven fights in a row and has beaten some of the most dangerous welterweights the UFC has to offer, so his credentials are beyond debate.
His style might not make many highlight-reels, but the guy just flat-out wins.
Stipe Miocic def. Junior Dos Santos by first round TKO
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Jessica Andrade by unanimous decision
Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal by split decision
Frankie Edgar def. Yair Rodriguez by doctor’s stoppage (second round)
David Branch def. Krzysztof Jotko by split decision
Eddie Alvarezz vs. Dustin Poirier ruled a no contest
Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly by third round TKO
Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter by second round TKO
James Vick def. Marco Polo Reyes by first round TKO
Cortney Casey def. Jessica Aguilar by unanimous decision
Enrique Barzola def. Gabriel Benitez by unanimous decision
Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Joachim Christensen first round submission