Stipe Miocic will aim to end the curse of the UFC heavyweight championship when he defends his belt against Junior Dos Santos at UFC 211 in Texas.
No heavyweight champion in the UFC has defended their belt more than twice, and Miocic will be making his second defence after knocking out Alistair Overeem at UFC 203.
The fight card is full of exciting fights, making UFC 211 one of the most eagerly anticipated shows of the year.
We take a look at the main card below.
MAIN EVENT – UFC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
265lbs – Stipe Miocic (C) (16-2) vs. Junior ‘Cigano’ Dos Santos (18-4)
Two of the best heavyweights in the world will meet once again as Miocic defends his title against Dos Santos in a rematch.
JDS won the first fight back in 2014 via a unanimous decision, but both men are adamant the fight will not go the distance this time around.
Miocic fights for the first time after knocking out Overeem at UFC 203 while Dos Santos enters the octagon for the first time in over a year after beating Ben Rothwell via a unanimous decision.
Both fighters have some of the best boxing in the UFC’s heavyweight division with both men capable of getting the finish. However, a yearlong break for Dos Santos could play a factor if the fight enters the later rounds; potentially handing the advantage to Miocic.
But during Miocic’s defence against Overeem, the Dutch striker was able to land clean shots on his chin, something which could cause him problems against an elite power puncher like Dos Santos.
The champion could lean on his wrestling if the advantage falls to ‘Cigano’ on the feet. It’s unlikely that JDS will have enough gas in the tank to grind out five rounds.
At 33-years-old, it remains to be seen whether Dos Santos is still the same fighter after a long lay-off. It will be a hugely competitive fight, but I think Miocic will be able to grind out a decision victory.
PREDICTION: Miocic via decision
CO-MAIN EVENT – UFC STRAWWEIGHT TITLE
115lbs – Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) vs. Jessica ‘Bate Estaca’ Andrade (16-5)
The second title fight on the card pits UFC strawweight queen, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, against Jessica Andrade who is looking to continue her impressive run at 115lbs.
Andrade fought a 5-2 record at bantamweight but was usually much smaller than her opponent. Since moving to strawweight, she picked up victories over Angela Hill and Joanne Calderwood to give her shot at the gold; despite not beating any fighter in the top five. With Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz set to meet shortly, Andrade gets the shot at the reigning champ.
Her opponent in one of the most feared female fighters on the planet. Jedrzejczyk has dominated the strawweight division and is looking for her fifth title defence. With excellent striking and cardio, the Pole is favourite to have her hand raised.
She is the bigger fighter – having a four-inch advantage in height and reach. Andrade will have to avoid the stinging jab and avoid clinch exchanges with the Muay Thai specialist. The Pole took significant damage in the Kowalkiewicz fight at UFC 205 but was able to weather the storm and grind out a decision.
The Brazilian will deal damage and has a lot of power but has never been five rounds in her career. If Jedrzejczyk can take the fight into deep waters, she should have her hand raised.
PREDICTION: Jedrzejczyk via decision
170lbs – Demian Maia (24-6) vs. Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal (32-11)
Demian Maia could consider himself extremely unlucky not to be fighting Tyron Woodley for the UFC welterweight title.
Currently on a six-fight win streak, Maia is one of the best grapplers the UFC has ever seen. It seemed after Woodley’s re-match with Stephen Thompson, Maia would be next. However, he booked a fight against Jorge Masvidal just days before the pair fought at UFC 209.
While a win would see him guaranteed a shot at the title, a loss could be devastating for his chances.
Since moving to 170lbs, ‘Gamebred’ has been on a tear. He picked up an impressive knockout victory over Donald Cerrone in his last fight to set up a clash with Maia.
Masvidal has high-level striking and strong takedown defence – which is key to have any chance of defeating Maia. However, the Brazilian has made some of the best wrestlers in the UFC look average and has still had his hand raised against long strikers such as Neil Magny.
If he can keep the fight on the feet, he has a good chance of becoming a title contender at 170. But Maia can takedown and submit any opponent; I don’t think Masvidal will be any different.
PREDICTION: Maia via submission
145lbs – Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar (21-5-1) vs. Yair ‘El Pantera’ Rodriguez (10-1)
One of the most eagerly anticipated bouts on the card pits former UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, against one of the most exciting stars in the company – Yair Rodriguez.
Edgar is one of the well-rounded athletes on the UFC roster and would stake his claim for another title shot with a win over ‘El Pantera’. The American has some of the best cardio in the division and is arguably the best wrestler at featherweight.
However, again, ‘The Answer’ is much smaller than his opponent. Rodriguez will have a five-inch height advantage and a three-inch reach advantage. The Mexican is huge at 145lbs and has devastating kicks.
It is an interesting style match-up, with Edgar holding the boxing and wrestling advantage but Rodriguez can unleash his kicks from anywhere. ‘El Pantera’ is considered to be one of the brightest prospects in the UFC, and a win over Edgar could put his name amongst the stars.
Edgar lumbered to victory over Jeremy Stephens in his last fight, and I think Rodriguez should punish him with kicks to earn a knockout victory.
What do you think of our prediction? Leave yours down below!