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Dos Santos-Miocic headlines UFC 211's top-notch card

By - May 12, 2017

By Weston DeWitt/For The Sporting Nation

 

There are a litany of storylines going into Saturday’s UFC 211 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. It is being labeled as the “biggest, baddest card of the year”. The city of Dallas and UFC fans will be treated to two spectacular title fights.

Before the main Pay-per-view card hits the television screens, fans will also be treated to some great fights in the prelims on FX. Most notably, the No. 9-ranked lightweight contender, Dustin Poirier, will look to make a statement when he takes on the former lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez.

Alvarez was last seen at UFC 205 in the main event against Conor McGregor. Alvarez ended up losing in a second round TKO, giving up his championship belt to McGregor.

It was reported Alvarez received $1 million for the main purse and a $50,000 bonus if he defeated McGregor. His fortunes have changed now, and he will look to get back on track against the dangerous Poirier.

In the second fight of the night, one of the most feared young guns in the sport, Yair "El Pantera" Rodriguez, will look to prove he belongs in the conversation amongst the best of the featherweight division when he faces off against UFC legend Frankie Edgar.

Rodriguez was featured in the main event at UFC Fight Night in Phoenix to kick off 2017 when he took on another UFC icon, BJ Penn. Rodriguez had his way with Penn and landed 56 clean strikes to put Penn away in a second round TKO. He brings his dangerous kicking game into this fight, and will look to exploit the boxing style of Edgar.

Edgar is coming off a decision win over Jeremy Stephens at UFC 205. The former lightweight champion comes in with a solid record of 21-5-1.

In the third featured bout of the main card, Jorge Masvidal looks to make his case that he belongs at the top of the welterweight division when he takes on No. 3-ranked Demian Maia. Masvidal is in a great position to set himself up for a title shot against Tyron Woodley if he can pull out a win next Saturday. He is coming off a stunning second round knockout victory back in January over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

Maia looks to make it seven straight victories next Saturday by using his devastating jiu-jitsu game and get Masvidal onto the mat.

In the co-main event, strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will look to defend her belt for the sixth straight time as she takes on No. 3-ranked contender Jessica Andrade. Jedrzejczyk last defended her belt at UFC 205 when she defeated fellow countrywoman Karolina Kowalkiewicz by unanimous decision. Jedrzejczyk will have a three-inch height and reach advantage over Andrade.

Andrade comes into this fight with a record of 16-5. She previously defeated Angela Hill by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night in Houston on February 4. She possess a strong ground game, as her submission rate of 44% will pose a serious challenge for Jedrzejczyk.

“Jessica has proved a lot in the division,” said Jedrzejczyk on Thursday. “She dropped from 135 pounds and she won three straight fights. She is the right person for me and it is going to be a really good fight. She really likes to exchange punches, but I am getting better and better and I want to defend my title which is what I am going to do.”

To wrap it up UFC 211, the highly anticipated rematch between two heavyweight warriors takes center stage once again as the evening’s main event.

The champion, Stipe Miocic brings his dominant 16-2 record into Dallas as he squares off once again with the No. 4-ranked contender, Junior Dos Santos, for all the marbles.

The two faced off in Phoenix back in 2014, which was the main event of the evening. In a highly intense fight, Dos Santos came out on top with a unanimous decision victory. Since that loss, Miocic has been on a mission to prove to Dos Santos that he is the real champion.

“It was a fight and it sucked,” said Miocic on the first fight. “I had a swollen eye and stitches in my mouth, but it is part of the game. It sucked for about a week, but after that, I was good to go. I did a lot of things wrong in that fight and it was my first five-round fight. We will definitely have a better game plan for the next fight.”

“That was a really tough fight,” said Dos Santos on the first fight. “He (Miocic) has really heavy hands and has really good boxing skills. It definitely was a tough fight for both of us and we learned a lot from each other. Now we will be more prepared for each other.”

Miocic will have the weight advantage by two pounds and the reach advantage by three inches. For Dos Santos, he will have a two-inch leg reach advantage. Even with the reach advantage, Miocic knows there has never been a heavyweight champion to defend his belt more than twice in the UFC. He knows to shrug that aside and focus on his rematch with Dos Santos.

“All I care about it winning,” said Miocic. “I love what I do and I am going to keep winning. I’ve trained way too hard and sacrificed way too much to give it up. I’m just different. I have gotten better every fight. I am inclining every fight, not declining and nothing is going to change.”

Dos Santos was the heavyweight champion at one point in his career. He defeated Cain Velasquez to win the belt at the first UFC on FOX show back in 2011. He eventually lost his belt back to Velasquez at UFC 166 in a fifth round TKO.

Both fighters possess lethal knockout power. But a key factor in this fight could come down to the grappling game. Miocic will have to use all areas of his game to take Dos Santos, while Dos Santos is ready for the challenge once again and feels that he is the superior fighter in this match.

“I am very confident,” said Dos Santos. “I like to be positive so in my dreams, the way I see it, I can see myself beating him before the end of the second round. I am very well prepared. I am stronger, smarter and have more experience now. It is going to be a great fight for the fans.”

With the first fight going to a decision, which is very uncommon in the heavyweight division, Miocic does not in any way see the fight going to a decision.

“I am walking out with the belt,” said Miocic. “It’s going to happen, not sure in what particular round, but I’m going to walk out with the belt.” 

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