May 13, 2017
Dallas, Texas from American Airlines Center
Live on UFC Fight Pass (6:30 PMET), FX (8:00 PM ET), and pay-per-view (10:00 PM ET)
Welcome to MMA Torch’s live coverage of UFC 211, one of the more loaded lineups UFC has presented lately and it has mostly held together. Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis is off after a hand injury to Cejudo and an undercard bout between Jared Gordon and Michael Quinones has been canceled as well due to Gordon falling ill.
No less than five fights tonight pit top 10 fighters against eachother (fighters’ MMATorch.com Staff Rankings are included in the listings). Stipe Miocic looks to continue his heavyweight reign over the last man to defeat him, Junior dos Santos in the main event. Co-headlining is a strawweight championship battle between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade. Be sure to check out Michael Grocke’s preview of the show. Matt Ecochard is with you for the prelims and Mike Hiscoe has you covered for the main card so keep it locked here for round by round updates. You can follow Mike on Twitter here. Now take a break from cocaine binges and sandblasting prostitutes and enjoy some fights with us.
Pay-Per-View Main Card
They did a nice narrated promo hyping the top four fights to open the show and skipped the talking heads and Face the Pain altogether. Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier are calling the action and ran down the show. Anik reminded us that the new unified rules are NOT in play tonight in Dallas. This is Texas, so most rules won’t be in play anyway.
(8) Krzysztof Jotko vs. David Branch (Middleweight 185 lbs)
Lots of talk of David Branch’s experience “outside of UFC.” No mention of WSOF by name.
ROUND ONE: Both guys light on their feet but missed early striking attempts. Branch timed a takedown on a kick attempt and took Jotko down in the dead center of the cage. Branch threw some elbows from full guard. Jotko made a couple submission attempts but nothing was there. Jotko scooted towards the cage and was able to stand up with one hand on the ground. He avoided the big knees and stood up and they clinched against the cage. Jotko took Branch down briefly but they got up immediately and Jotko landed a knee in the clinch. Branch threw some short knees in the clinch. The crowd started booing while Branch threw some uppercuts and body shots, still in the clinch. 10-9 Branch.
ROUND TWO: Jotko initiated a clinch against the cage. They broke apart and Jotko landed a big spinning elbow on the break. Jotko ate a kick to the groin and took a short break. Jotko landed a left. Branch fainted often, threatening a takedown. He landed a takedown but Jotko was able to get up quickly. Jotko threw a left body kick and followed up with a combination that connected with a left. Branch clinched but the ref broke them apart very quickly. Jotko with a wheel kick that partially connected. Branch took him down again but Jotko was right back up. Jotko faked a knee and came in with a straight left. 10-9 Jotko, 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Branch came out with a high right kick to start. Branch with an outside leg kick and was more active with his punches. Branch landed a body shot. Jotko threw a spin kick that Branch dodged and responded with a finger wag. The finger wag is an underutilized move in MMA. They clinched and jockeyed for position and crowd absolutely turned on them. No mercy from the Dallas crowd for what was a great show so far. The ref broke them up and they went right back to the clinch. Branch landed a nice left jab. Branch got the takedown with two minutes left. Jotko got up and worked for a takedown of his own but didn’t get it. The crowd booed more as they clinched against the cage and the ref broke them up again. Jotko connected with a right uppercut late. 10-9 Branch, 29-28.
Result: David Branch by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Analysis: Not the kind of performance one would have hoped for from Branch in his return but he did enough to get the win. Not a very exciting fight and the crowd turned on this show quick. What I saw of the prelims were fantastic so they’ve been a little spoiled. I don’t think that was a top 10 level performance from Branch. His takedowns were there but he did little with them and he could benefit from opening up his striking a bit.
They aired some clips of the ridiculous Summer Kickoff press conference from last night. They showed Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee go to blows and Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier’s back and forth.
(9) Frankie Edgar (#3) vs. Yair Rodriguez (#6) (Featherweight 145 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Edgard took the center of the cage to start and came in with a quick flurry that Yair avoided. Yair threw a high kick that was well over Edgar’s head. Yair threw punches in huge volume. Edgar worked for a takedown and got it. There’s some sort of foghorn noise coming from the crowd. That’s a first. Frankie worked some elbows from the top and they were getting through. Edgard landed big shots from the top but Yair held on. Frankie postured up and landed a big helping of successive lefts and rights. 10-8 Frankie.
ROUND TWO: Yair’s left eye was swelling big league and it wasn’t really treated between rounds. Yair went for a spin kick and Edgar took him down right after. Yair got a hold of Edgar’s leg on the takedown and worked for a submission. Edgar threw punches from the top but couldn’t get his leg out. Yair had a good grip on Edgar’s leg. Edgar squirmed out and let loose on Yair. He took full mount and nailed him with punches from the top. Yair gave up his back to get a break. Frankie ended up in full guard but he dropped elbows on the busted up eye of Rodriguez. Edgar just worked in punches and elbows for the rest of the round. 10-9 Edgar, 20-17. In between rounds, Yair’s eye was clearly swollen completely shut. The doctor took one look at it and called off the fight. Good call.
Result: Frankie Edgar by TKO at the end of two rounds
Analysis: Huge win for Edgar who had a lot to lose by taking this fight. Edgar holds onto his spot as a perennial contender. He’s in a tough spot with two losses to Jose Aldo, so I would expect Edgar to be rooting for Max Holloway next month. Yair was clearly overmatched here and may need to work on his wrestling to be ready for the top-tier featherweights. His upside is still sky high though.
Jon Anik announced that Joe Silva will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame as this year’s inductee to the contributor wing.
(10) Demian Maia (#3) vs. Jorge Masvidal (#5) (Welterweight 170 lbs)
ROUND ONE: They felt each other out for about 30 seconds and Maia shot for the takedown. He worked relentlessly for it and ate some punches in the process. Maia dragged him down after about a minute and took his back. Masvidal stood up and put his and Maia’s backs to the cage. Maia threw punches from behind and looked to sink in a choke. Maia threw some body punches but Masvidal didn’t take the bait and continued to protect his neck. Masvidal couldn’t shake this guy but did get out with 20 seconds left. He nearly took Maia out with punches on the ground to finish the round. 10-9 Maia just for the duration he was in control.
ROUND TWO: Masvidal stuffed an early shot from Maia. Masvidal landed a leg kick and worked a jab. Maia missed another takedown and then ate a kick to the body and the legs. Maia looked tired and may not have a takedown in him. Maia missed a third try and tried to pull guard after missing. Maia took a knee while getting up and went for another takedown that he couldn’t complete. Maia was able to get a single leg and keep Masvidal on the mat. He nearly had an anaconda but couldn’t finish. Masvidal went to get up and Maia was all over his back again. Maia tripped him back down and still had the back. Maia threw a few punches to try and loosen Masvidal up for a choke but time ran out. 10-9 Masvidal, 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Masvidal threw a high kick early followed by a big leg kick. Masvidal kept himself at a distance and threw some jabs and kicks. Maia didn’t go for the takedown until midway through the round. Maia worked for a rear naked choke but lost it. He got a better position on Masvidal’s back and locked in a body triangle. Masvidal tried to throw back elbows to ward Maia off. 10-9 Maia, 29-28 but it could go the other way.
Result: 29-28 Maia, 29-28 Masvidal, 29-28 Demien Maia by split decision
Analysis: A bit of an underwhelming win for Maia as he barely scraped by with a win here and couldn’t get the finish. Maia has done enough to deserve a title shot so he should be next. Maia said that Dana White told him he will get the next title shot. Based on what we saw tonight, I think Tyron Woodley has the tools to beat Maia but it will be a very interesting fight.
They previewed UFC 212 next month. Man, that PPV card is rough without Anderson Silva on it.
(11) Joanna Jedrzejczyk (#1 SW, #3 P4P) vs. Jessica Andrade (#3) (Strawweight Championship Fight 115 lbs)
Andrade with a good mean mug on her walk out. Joanna tried to goad her on as soon as the got into the cage. It’s crazy that Andrade, at 5 foot 1 used to compete at 135.
ROUND ONE: Joanna with sharp leg kicks to start. Andrade with a leg kick of her own. Andrade landed a nice combination that caught Joanna. Joanna laughed it off. Andrade put the pressure on and pressed Joanna against the cage. Andrade got a takedown on the second attempt. Andrade passed to half guard but Joanna spun out and stood up. Joanna with a big punch as they broke from a clinch. Joanna started throwing her jab and more leg kicks. Joanna landed a nice left head kick. Joanna landed leg kicks at will. Andrade pressed and went for another takedown but Joanna bounced back up. 10-9 Joanna.
ROUND TWO: More big leg kicks from Joanna early. Andrade rushed in with combinations but Joanna was evasive and stayed out of harm’s way. Joanna kept her distance and threw leg kicks. She looks to be playing the long game, looking to win a decision. Andrade was not able to get much of anything in this round. Joanna started landing more punches cleanly. Andrade missed on another takedown attempt. Andrade ate some jabs and then got nailed with a head kick but then rocked Joanna briefly. 10-9 Joanna, 20-18.
ROUND THREE: Andrade opened with a leg kick. Joanna more aggressive this round with jabs and front kicks. Joanna landed a nice head kick. Andrade switched stances after taking a bevy of leg kicks. Andrade started to slow down and would throw big punches one at a time. Andrade took a left hand from Joanna. Joanna kept hurting her with jabs. She got a knee in when Andrade rushed in. Joanna landed a late head kick. Andrade went for a takedown late but missed. 10-9 Joanna, 30-27. She’s running away with this.
ROUND FOUR: Joanna continued to keep Andrade at a distance with her kicks. Joanna landed a clean left and right. Joanna with another head kick. Andrade worked for a takedown for a while but again, Joanna was able to bounce right back up. A leg kick from Joanna almost put Andrade down and she followed up with a big right hand. She tagged Andrade with a left shortly after. A knee from Joanna and a left hand connected. 10-9 Joanna, 40-36.
ROUND FIVE: Joanna’s corner tells her to “be safe.” Andrade was pushing the pace as she absolutely needed a finish here. Joanna would back away and land jabs as Andrade tried to walk her down. Andrade clinched with her but couldn’t do anything with it. Andrade landed a couple big rights in close range. Andrade ate a lot of punches while trying to force her way to the inside to get within striking distance. Joanna looked at the clock and backed off to ensure victory. 10-9 Joanna, an easy 50-45.
Result: Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision 50-45, 50-44, 50-45
Analysis: A very dominant performance by Jedrzejczyk there. Not the most exciting or competitive fight, but it confirmed Joanna as one of the best pound for pound, gender for gender fighters in the world. Andrade showed heart in constantly trying to press the action, she just couldn’t get into range to touch Joanna. Joanna put Andrade over after the fight. Rose Namajunas could be next for Joanna, I know I’d love to see that. Andrade proposed to her girlfriend, who was in the crowd, from the cage and she apparently said yes.
(12) Stipe Miocic (#1 HW, #4 P4P) vs. Junior dos Santos (#5) (Heavyweight Championship Fight 265 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Junior looks as intense as you would expect and Miocic as relaxed as you would expect. Miocic opened with a leg kick. Miocic backed Junior against the fence. Dos Santos threw a leg kick and Miocic walked through it and rushed him. He didn’t connect cleanly though. Miocic’s left leg might be hurting him. He’s not moving well on it. Miocic walked him down and threw a right hand that connected. Miocic dropped him with a pair of right hands and followed up with punches on the ground, he gave the ref a look to stop the fight and he stopped it a moment later.
Result: Miocic by TKO at 2:22 of the first round
Analysis: Convincing win for Miocic there. He was hurt by those leg kicks but he kept pressing forward and had enough confidence in his power to know he could knock dos Santos out. Miocic said the leg kicks were “terrible.” It’s hard to say what is next for him with Cain Velasquez out indefinitely. I would go with Derrick Lewis assuming he gets past Mark Hunt next month. It could be early for him, but timing is on his side and he would do as good a job as any other heavyweights in selling the fight. With two defenses, Miocic has a claim as one of the best heavyweights of all time and one of the current top pound for pound fighters. UFC 211 was a good show, definitely worth watching if you are looking for a recommendation. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back tomorrow where we will unpack all of tonight’s happenings in our Daily News Digest.