The past three UFC events I am 21-6 predicting the winners and 16-11 predicting how the fight is finished. Saturday, UFC 211 goes to Dallas, Texas where Stipe Miocic will defend his heavyweight championship against former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos.
Lightweights – Marco Polo Reyes (7-3) vs. James Vick (10-1)
Reyes has been known as a great student by coach Eric Del Fierro, but this fight will be different as he won’t have Del Fierro in his corner for the first time fighting in the UFC. Reyes is 3-0 in the UFC but changed gyms to be closer to his daughter. Vick is in his home state and the former Ultimate Fighter semi-finalist will look to add on to his impressive record and crack the lightweight rankings with a win. Reyes will be able to keep the fight on their feet and eliminate Vick’s dangerous submission game. Reyes will be aggressive and pressure Vick. Upset of the night!
Prediction: Reyes(+290) by decision
Featherweights – Chas Skelly (17-2) vs. Jason Knight (16-2)
Knight has been given the “Redneck Diaz” and Skelly’ response to that was “There is only room for one redneck in this 145-pound UFC trailer park.” Wait. What? This is definitely a candidate for fight of the night. Both fighters are not scared to eat a couple shots while going in for their own. Skelly has the advantage a better submission artist and Knight is the better boxer. They both have their strengths over the other but don’t underestimate the opposites strength as they are still good. The advantage goes to Skelly since Knight has not yet proven that he can stop the takedowns of a good wrestler.
Prediction: Skelly (-125) by submission
Lightweights – Eddie Alvarez (28-5) vs. Dustin Poirier (21-5)
Alvarez coming off his title defense to Conor McGregor, Poirier is a much easier opponent. Poirier will initiate the fight, which plays right into what Alavarez does best, stick and move and look for counters. The opportunity will be there for Poirier to end the fight. Everyone who fights Alvarez hurts him but can never finish him, except McGregor obviously. Before McGregor finished Alvarez by TKO, he hasn’t been knocked out since 2007. Poirier has some of the heaviest hands in the lightweight division but I think Alvarez will recover and do enough to beat him.
Prediction: Alvarez (-120) by decision (+210)
Middleweights – Krzysztof Jotko (19-1) vs. David Branch (20-3)
Both of these fighters like to control the tempo of the fight. Which makes the prediction of a very boring technical fight easy. Both fighters are very good takedown artist and seriously this fight will be a snooze fest.
Prediction: Jotko (-150) by decision
Featherweights – Frankie Edgar (21-5-1) vs. Yair Rodriguez (10-1)
Another candidate for fight of the night, but not because I expect these fighters to just stand there and go blow for blow but because they both have exceptional stamina. They both can easily go five rounds and look fresh in the 5th, they have both proved it time and time again. So this fight is a candidate for fight of the night because every round the fighters will be giving it their best and not giving whatever they got left in their tank. Edgar is a veteran of the octagon and pushes the fight at a very fast pace. Edgar sets up his strategy for the next round and it is amazing to watch. He throw away takedown attempts to set up strikes, and then in a later round he will get the takedown when his opponent is looking for strikes. Rodriguez is top notch when it comes to athleticism which shows off his cardio. He will use a ton of kicks to keep Edgar honest. I think this will prevent Edgar from getting the takedowns he will look to rely on.
Prediction: Rodriguez (+110) by decision (+240)
Welterweights – Demian Maia (24-6) vs. Jorje Masvidal (35-11)
Maia should be fighting Tyron Woodley for his belt but the UFC just won’t give him his title shot that he has absolutely earned. Winner of six straight and three against top ten opponents he shouldn’t be fighting another top-5 fighter in Masvidal. This is definitely a fight of opposite styles. Maia is an outstanding wrestler and submission artist while Masvidal is a striker, mainly boxing but has lethal kicks. Masvidal is an aggressive fighter but Maia is a veteran fighter and he will use the aggression against Masvidal and pressure Msavidal himself. Even though Masividal as a very underrated takedown defense we have seen time and time again, that means nothing to Maia.
Prediction: Maia (-105) by decision (+290)
Women’s Strawweight Championship – Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) vs. Jessica Andrade (16-5)
The odds on Joanna (I’m not spelling her last name again) scare me. They are way too low for this fight. Which should mean that I want to put anything and everything I have on it, but if there is one thing I have learned through my years of gambling. It’s that VEGAS KNOWS! Andrade was an average bantamweight fighter, but the move down to 115 has made her more powerful than her opponents. An advantage Joanna usually has on her opponents is her great cardio but even with the extreme weight cut it does not seem to affect Andrade’s cardio one bit. Joanna’s key to success will be to land those quick jabs she throws and throughout her career Andrade is very susceptible to those quick strikes. However, Andrade will be looking for the counter through those jabs. Joanna has outstruck her opponent 3-1 in four of her five fights. That will be hard to do with Andrade who lets loose when she has an opening. This fight will stay on the feet and Joanna will win in her toughest fight yet.
Prediction: Jedrzejczyk (-190) by decision (+125)
Heavyweight Championship – Stipe Miocic (16-2) vs. Junior Dos Santos (18-4)
These two fought before without any belt on the line and Dos Santos won by decision. Since that loss Miocic has won four straight and defended his title once. Dos Santos was on top of the world on his run to the heavyweight title roughly six years ago. He was unstoppable until Cain Velasquez showed us just how human he was. Knocking him out, taking his title, and then knocking him out again a year later. Dos Santos is now a renewed fighter. He has changed the mechanics, or lack of mechanics, that led to those losses to Velazquez and looks to reclaim his belt. Since losing to Dos Santos, Miocic has been on an absolute tear, knocking out three straight opponents. This won’t be a short fight like a heavyweight fight usually is and in long fights Miocic realies on his wrestling but Dos Santos has probably the best take down defense in the weight class. Dos Santos has improved significantly since their first fight, but I don’t feel Miocic has.
Prediction: Dos Santos (+110) by TKO (+170)