UFC 211 matchups
A breakdown of the fights on the main card of UFC 211 on Saturday at American Airlines Center in Dallas, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:
Stipe Miocic (16-2) vs. Junior dos Santos (18-4)
Class: For Miocic’s heavyweight title
Line: Miocic minus-140
Storyline: Dos Santos won a unanimous decision in an outstanding fight between the two three years ago. The fact the fight went five rounds was probably an anomaly. Both have a track record of finishing fights, and the rematch isn’t likely to go the distance. Miocic has ascended the ranks largely on the strength of his speed and athleticism. Dos Santos, a former champion, is a tough matchup because he’s also agile. One big shot could determine the outcome. Miocic has the confidence of holding the belt and the motivation of avenging a loss.
Hill’s Pick: Miocic by second-round knockout
Fang’s Pick: Miocic by fifth-round knockout
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) vs. Jessica Andrade (16-5)
Class: For Jedrzejczyk’s women’s strawweight title
Line: Jedrzejczyk minus-180
Storyline: While Jedrzejczyk has been the unquestioned queen of the division, Andrade has been a completely different fighter since dropping 20 pounds from bantamweight last year. This definitely could prove to be Jedrzejczyk’s most difficult test, and her apparently brutal weight cut Friday morning only adds to the intrigue. Andrade is strong and aggressive. She also has a strong ground game that could give the champion fits if the fight hits the mat. Still, Jedrzejczyk is as dynamic and precise a striker as there is in the division. She could pick apart Andrade with counters and test her questionable staminia as the challenger never has fought more than three rounds.
Hill’s Pick: Andrade by third-round submission
Fang’s Pick: Jedrzejczyk by fourth-round knockout
Demian Maia (24-6) vs. Jorge Masvidal (32-11)
Line: Masvidal minus-125
Storyline: Masvidal has won three straight after going 6-4 in his first 10 UFC fights. While Maia continues to evolve his standup game, he could be in trouble if the fight stays standing for too long. The biggest question is how long can Masvidal keep the action where he wants it. Maia won’t need long on the ground to make life miserable for Masvidal. His submission game is suffocating and could put a quick end to Masvidal’s remarkable run. The winner should be in line for a title shot.
Hill’s Pick: Maia by first-round submission
Fang’s Pick: Maia by third-round submission
Frankie Edgar (20-5-1) vs. Yair Rodriguez (11-1)
Line: Edgar minus-130
Storyline: This has to be the favorite for fight of the night even on one of the deepest cards of the year. Rodriguez is a young and flashy breakout star with a huge array of attacks. He is pitted against a veteran who is far more substance than style and one of the UFC’s most durable combatants. He never has been knocked out or submitted in his career, which includes a stint as lightweight champion. The UFC has big plans for Rodriguez to further the organization’s reach in Mexico. A win would expedite that process.
Hill’s Pick: Rodriguez by decision
Fang’s Pick: Edgar by decision
Krzysztof Jotko (19-1) vs. David Branch (20-3)
Line: Jotko minus-150
Storyline: Jotko quietly has risen into middleweight division relevance by winning his past five fights since suffering the only loss of his career. But he doesn’t finish fights at the highest level, as five of his six UFC wins have gone the distance. Branch is getting a second chance in the UFC after going 2-2 in the organization in 2010 and 2011, and has won 10 straight since he was released. Branch abandoned the World Series of Fighting middleweight and light heavyweight belts to return.
Hill’s Pick: Branch by second-round submission
Fang’s Pick: Branch by decision