FS1 Prelims (8PM/ET):
Marco Polo Reyes (8-3) vs. James Vick (9-1): We kick off the televised fights in the lightweight division and this one is going to be a complete fight to a finish. Reyes is a strong, hard hitting, tough dude that has finished almost all of his fights. This guy is one punch away from a KO all the time due to how powerful his hands are. Now he will need to be careful because his opponent James Vick is a submission king. He has long arms and long legs and can wrap up submissions out of nowhere and will be looking for his takedown and once he gets it he would end the fight. This fight most likely won’t go to the end because I believe these guys will try to control the fight where they are better and either way one will get the finish. This is a close fight but I believe James Vick finds a way to force this thing to the ground and gets a RNC and wins this one in the 2nd round via submission.
#9 (9) Krzysztof Jotko (19-1) vs. David Branch (20-3): Here comes a middleweight throw down featuring one of the top fighters on the rise in the middleweight division. That top fighter is Jotko. Now Jotko is 19-1, and is on a 5 fight win streak but I think he can get even better. I would love to see Jotko fight more aggressive and come get his wins instead of just scoring. He picked up anything from Gegard it should be just that. Gegard was a skilled fighter with holes in his game because he was too much into scoring now that he is after the finishes he is untouchable. I would love Jotko to be more aggressive and if he does he would become a top 5 fighter fast and compete for the title. Now his opponent David Branch is one powerful tough dude who looks for takedowns and then pounds people till they go to sleep or until they leave an opening for a submission. I think if Branch wants to win this one he needs to go to the ground and look for a submission. Jotko though is the better fighter and I believe he will unlock the beast inside and pick up his 20th career win via a 3rd round TKO.
Chas Skelly (17-2) vs. Jason Knight (19-2): This featherweight fight is between two tough dudes who both could find themselves ranked with a win and even a loss doesn’t set them back too far. This fight will most likely go to the mat as both fighters know how to end a fight on the ground and they make it look easy but it won’t be easy for either fighter as they have no real edge over each other on the ground. They are both good jiu-jitsu fighters but Chas brings in some wrestling background as well as his jiu-jitsu and I expect him to be the more aggressive one. I am really going to enjoy this one and I hope to see them both ranked someday soon and get top level competition. I think Jason Knight with his win over Caceres will be a big edge for him and give him momentum. Knight wins this one via 1st round armbar submission.
#3 (4) Eddie Alvarez (28-5) vs. #7 (9) Dustin Poirier (21-5): The main event of the televised prelims is a HUGE fight in the lightweight division. I personally believe these two fighters both are championship caliber, yes I know Alvarez already held the title but he could easily be back there soon. This fight will most likely end with a KO the question to ask and have solved is which fighter will be the victim of the KO punch. Dustin has been rolling since finding himself part of the lightweight division with one set back to Michael Johnson but he could easily turn that around here with a huge win over Alvarez. We haven’t seen Eddie fight since his loss to McGregor so this is a turn-around fight for him as well but I believe he has the capability to do so if he picks his spots against a vicious fighter. If this fight goes to the ground through I believe strongly that Poirier will be the fighter with the advantage and get the finish there if need be. I really am having a hard one here as I probably will with every fight left on this card but I have faith Dustin is bound for that UFC belt and he will regain his momentum here. I have Poirier winning this one via 3rd round TKO in a fight of the year caliber fight.
UFC 211 Main Card (10 PM/ET):
#2(2) Henry Cejudo (10-2) vs. #5 (6) Sergio Pettis (15-2): Future flyweight title contender is in this fight well they both are probably bound for a title fight some day soon. Cejudo was someone I thought had a shot at dethroning the greatest ever but he really got demolished and showed me once again no body is on Demetrious’ level. He followed that loss to the champ with a loss to the 2nd best in this division and now he is facing the test of a young star on the rise and Cejudo will need to use his Olympic medalist style of fighting to win this by getting this fight to the mat. Cejudo is the far superior fighter when on the ground against Pettis. Now Sergio is out of the spotlight of his brother because he is almost title ready he just needs to improve his ground game. Sergio is a good fast handed fighter on his feet. That being said he will get demolished like a person in front of a train if he lets this fight go to the ground and I fear Cejudo is too much this early in his career for Pettis and he isn’t quite at that level yet. I have Cejudo picking up the submission win via guillotine in the 2nd round.
#2(2) Frankie Edgar (20-5-1) vs. #6(7) Yair Rodriguez (11-1): This fight is co-main worthy and I am so excited for this fight. Yair is a kid on the rise and is exciting as hell to watch as he can put on a flashy show night in and night out. His fight with Alex Cecares was so much fun to watch and just showed how acrobatic and flashy yet aggressive this kid can be. Now Yair is known for his standup but I wouldn’t say that’s because he lacks skills on the mat we just haven’t needed to see his skills on the mat because he puts on a show standing up. Now his opponent is a guy who if you love MMA and the UFC you have to love in Frankie Edgar. Frankie is one of the greatest fighters to ever tape up the gloves and take the walk out to the UFC octagon. This dude is one bad dude who can grind you out for a win, submit you, throw you around, and KO you. Frankie was screwed out of the title by the UFC judges because Aldo played the Floyd Mayweather game of punch and circle the octagon. I am a huge fan of both of these fighters and am torn between who is going to win this thing. I know he is a very slight underdog in this fight but I love the momentum and the flash he brings into this fight. I have faith that Yair Rodriguez will find a way to pull off a cartwheel TKO in the 2nd round. That being said let’s not count out Frankie in this one I believe he can pull off a 3rd round TKO if he can survive and exhaust Yair. I still have a slight edge to Yair so that is who I am sticking with but this one is too close to call basically.
#3 (3) Demian Maia (24-6) vs. #4 (5) Jorge Masvidal (32-11): This welterweight bout should determine the next title contender for Tyron Woodley. Well I love Demian and I would normally say a lot about a guy who is bound for the title but this is all I need to say. If this fight goes to the ground Maia wins, end of story. Masvidal on the other hand is one of those guys who had his struggles and has seemingly put it all together and he will need to keep this fight standing at all costs. He can stop this fight with one clean strong punch as we saw against Cerrone this dude is one hard hitting beast. Now I think the momentum is on both sides and one will have to falter here. I believe the better fighter in this fight is Maia and he will grab this win. Maia wins via 2nd round submission.
(Champ) Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) vs. #1 (3) Jessica Andrade (16-5): This is the one true test for the queen of all women fighters in the world, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Jessica Andrade is unbeaten since coming down a weight class and she looks like a complete savage warrior who is ready to decapitate someone with one punch and she should be a real test for Joanna with her aggressive style. Jessica can hit harder than any woman on the planet at this weight and she is a good ground fighter to boot and should be a complete test and one that if she gets the title could hold it for a long while. Now that being said the queen is the queen for a reason. She is the women’s version of Demetrious Johnson, by that she is the best champ of women. I love what she brings in her skills, a chin, a motor, stamina, KO power, take down defense and good skills on the mat that are underrated. I am going with the defending champion to retain via a 4th round TKO after she tires Jessica Andrade.
(Champion) Stipe Miocic (16-2) vs. #3 (4) Junior Dos Santos (18-4): HERE WE GO THE HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT OF THE YEAR, unless they give Francis Ngannou a title shot later this year. JDS is back to the top and he is here for another title shot because he believes that belt is his again. The striking skills of JDS are amazing and he could pick apart most fighters with his abilities but I believe Stipe isn’t one of those guys as we saw Stipe can wait for his shot against Werdum. This fight is going to be a fist fight and I can guarantee that it will end with one guys eyes closed face down on the mat in la-la land. This fight has me so excited. I have Stipe Miocic winning this one via 2nd round KO and I hope they start to schedule him to fight more because he brings so much excitement. Miocic with this win will tie the heavyweight record of 2 title defenses as it has never been defended more than 2 times in UFC history.
- Matt Koontz
Polo Reyes (8-3) vs. James Vick (10-1): This first fight on the prelims kicks off with the lightweight division. James Vick is coming into this fight off of a win after losing his undefeated streak to Beneil Dariush. Vick has five wins by submission and one by knockout with five of the total in the first round. Vick is a long and tall fighter who likes to use his range for strikes and initiating a quick clinch to land heavy knees. He uses his aggressive striking to stun his opponent and sink in the submission. His opponent is Polo Reyes who has been undefeated since entering the UFC. Reyes has won six fights by knockout and one by submission with two first round finishes. I think Vick will be able to take this fight because he has wonderful distance and can control all of his fights so far with a first round TKO.
Chas Skelly (17-2) vs. Jason Knight (19-2): Here we see two featherweights looking to start climbing the rankings. Jason Knight is on a three fight win streak and seems to be getting better with each fight. He has 13 wins by submission and two by knockout with eight finishes in the first. Knight likes to use strikes and knees to set up his groundwork, which is evident by his significant strikes per minute being at almost 4. His opponent, Chas Skelly, has won six of his last seven with his only loss to Darren Elkins. He has won ten of his fights by submission and three fights by knockout with six in the first round. This will probably be a mostly ground oriented match. These two will look to get a submission and there will be a lot of rolling and technique work. I think Jason Knight will take this because he has the advantage with strikes and I think he will mix that in to gain a submission in the third.
(#3) Eddie Alvarez (28-5) vs. (#9) Dustin Poirier (21-5): The main event for the prelims is between two high ranked lightweights. Dustin Poirier is trying to get his streak going again after losing to Michael Johnson last September. If he can get on a roll with these higher ranked guys his name will start to belong in title opportunity talks. Poirier has ten wins by knockout and six by submission with 12 in the first round. Poirier is constantly moving and loves to set his own pace landing an average of 5 significant strikes per minute. His opponent is former lightweight champ, Eddie Alvarez. Eddie never successfully defended his title with his first defense being a loss to Conor McGregor, but he managed to do something most people thought he wouldn't which is take care of Rafael Dos Anjos. He treated RDA the way RDA treated most of his opponents that were viewed as better than Eddie at the time. So even without the belt he still needs to be considered near the top of this weight class. Alvarez has 17 wins by knockout and five by submission with 14 finishes in the first round. Eddie is another guy that likes to set a fast pace and he likes it standing with a 92% defended takedown rate. These two are going to go one of the two usual ways. The first way is the obvious that they will both come out, metaphorical guns blazing, and leave a lasting impression on what to expect for the rest of the night, or see something similar to Woodley vs. Thompson II where both guys are so afraid of getting knocked out that they just kinda dance for 15 minutes. I don't see Poirier as the kind of guy to let that happen though so I think he might dictate the fight early. With the way these guys swing, early might be all there is and believing Poirier will be the one to dictate this fight I see Eddie forced to throw haymakers as he's backing up and it will leave him open enough for Dustin to get in there and drop him with a knockout towards the end of the first.
(#9) Krzysztof Jotko (19-1) vs. David Branch (20-3): The first fight of the main card will be number 9 ranked Krzysztof Jotko versus UFC newcomer David Branch. This fight was in the prelims, but is now kicking off the main card due to injury. Branch is actually coming back from a 2-2 run in 2010 and the division has changed a lot since then so we will see if he can do better this time. He owns a 12-1 record since leaving and is currently on a 10 fight win streak. Branch has won seven fights by submission and five by knockout with five of them in the first round. He doesn't have a high takedown defense or strikes per minute, but those are only recorded from his four fights in the UFC so there may be something here we aren't seeing. His opponent is also on a win streak, with five. Jotko has six wins by knockout and one by submission. He is also very good at defending takedowns so this may prove to be a rough night for Branch. I think Jotko will able to keep Branch standing and just beat him down with a TKO in the second round.
(#2) Frankie Edgar (20-5-1) vs. (#7) Yair Rodriguez (11-1): This next fight is a ranked fight for the featherweight division. We are going to see another fighter, this time in Yair Rodriguez, try to solidify his spot in the top five in his division. Rodriguez is on an eight fight winning streak and has been rolling through the UFC since winning The Ultimate Fighter in 2014. He has four wins by knockout and two by submission with four finishes in the first. Rodriguez is a warrior the way he comes at people mixing quick punches and devastating kicks. Across from him will be former lightweight champ, Frankie Edgar. Edgar is the full package being able to handle any situation. However his kryptonite is title fights because, not including Gray Maynard, his only losses since joining the UFC in 2007 were title fights. Frankie has five wins by knockout and four by submission making just over half of his wins coming from decision. Rodriguez is an absolute terror in his fights, but my biggest concern is the biggest name he fought is B.J. Penn and he is definitely not in a good part of his career. Nobody he fought is ranked and Frankie is in a completely different league than unranked fighters. This fight may go the distance and I see Edgar grinding through this to pick up a victory by decision.
(#3) Demian Maia (24-6) vs. (#5) Jorge Masvidal (32-11): This night intensifies as we move to some big stuff in the welterweight division. Masvidal has won ten of his last 14 fights and currently three in a row. He has 13 wins by knockout and two by submission with seven in the first round. Masvidal is a crazy striker that only uses enough grappling to keep striking. This could prove costly for him because his opponent tonight could be arguably one of the best grapplers ever in the octagon. Demian Maia has evolved into a monster in MMA with his six-fight win streak. Maia was always terrifying on the ground with 12 career submissions and it's no surprise because he is a fourth-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Recently he has gained major success with his striking. In three of these wins he out-struck Matt Brown, Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny. Masvidal is a force to be reckoned with while standing, but Maia is becoming a complete fighter and I think he will be able to get Jorge on the mat and from there it is over. I see Demian Maia picking up a submission victory in the second.
(C) Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) vs. (#3) Jessica Andrade (16-5): We move on to the co-main as we see the first of two title fights tonight. Joanna is looking to make her fifth title defense against the person I feel most capable to beat her, Jessica Andrade. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a great fighter and has made some top ranked people look like garbage, but she has a big hole in her ground game. She rarely goes for takedowns and when she does all it is is ground-and-pound. On top of that nobody has really been able to put her on the mat with an 82% defense and excellent stand-up skills. This is where Jessica Andrade comes in. Andrade has won 13 of her last 17 fights, won seven by submission, five by knockout, with seven in the first round and is built like a 115-pound Cyborg. This fight is tough to call because Andrade is an amazing fighter, but Joanna has a way to completely neutralize any opponent and just tear them apart. The deciding factor for me is who is on their records. Andrade has lost to people you would think she wouldn't and has gone the distance with people fans may think she should finish and I see that as inconsistency or something lacking. On the other hand, Joanna is undefeated and it's not just a weak schedule because she has been champ for four fights now. Andrade could take this, but I think Joanna will get in, hold the clinch and just work away for as long as it takes to keep her champion.
(C) Stipe Miocic (16-2) vs. (#4) Junior Dos Santos (18-4): Finally at the main event we see the second title fight on the complete opposite end of the scale. Junior Dos Santos has won 12 of his last 15 fights. He has won 13 fights by knockout and one by submission. Dos Santos has been a big deal in the division for a long time. He was champ for a short while and has fought almost every big name in the division since 2008. His opponent is looking to be the sixth person to defend the title twice. That doesn't sound like a big deal except no fighter has ever defended the heavyweight title three times. Stipe Miocic has won seven of his last eight fights and the only loss was to Dos Santos by decision. Five of those seven wins were by knockout and 13 of his total wins were by knockout. This doesn't raise any concerns about his endurance though because he has achieved knockouts in all of the 5 possible rounds. Junior Dos Santos is an exceptional standup striker and he will always be remembered for that, but there is a big problem in his ground game. Sure he has a great takedown defense, but when he gets put on the ground like Cain did in two separate fights, he loses. It almost looks like a completely different fighter and Stipe needs to lay his collegiate wrestling on thick in this match and ground-and-pound his way to victory. I think this fight will start standing with both fighters confident they can knock the other out. I think Stipe's coaches will be well aware of this weak spot and try to get Stipe to tire Dos Santos in the first and work his ground game in the following rounds. Dos Santos is a tough guy though and there is a reason he was once champ. He will still be able to defend takedowns and pile shots on. Miocic will have to keep working his angles and get Junior to drain more stamina than himself. I believe this fight will eventually be decided in the fourth with Stipe getting a win by TKO.
This fight should have been first on the main card, but due to Cejudo's injury it was scrapped. This is how I called it.
(#2) Henry Cejudo (10-2) vs. (#6) Sergio Pettis (15-2): Sergio Pettis is spearheading a group of flyweights that are working their way up the rankings and may have the ability to reshape the flyweight top ten about a year. Henry Cejudo is looking to stay in the top 5, but if he loses tonight it's not going to look good being his third loss in a row. Sergio Pettis has been grinding for this opportunity with most of his fights being only on fight pass prelims and his last fight being his first on a main card. He has three wins by knockout and three by submission with only one of them not being in the first round. He swings way more than he lands, but he has a good defense to back it up. He is a young fighter at 23, but he has the experience that could give him the tools for this possible win. His opponent is currently one of the top in this division and potentially a huge obstacle. Cejudo had a perfect record and looked unstoppable until a crushing defeat to Mighty Mouse. From there he faced Joseph Benavidez and lost again by split decision. With a perfect takedown defense and a streak like he had it's easy to see why he is at the top, but with these two defeats, one can see why a loss here could start a shift in this division. Cejudo has four wins by knockout and all of them were in the first. He likes to use his Olympic level grappling to get takedowns and from there just beat his opponent until the ref pulls him off. He can stand and strike too, but it's a massive weapon that would always allow him to gain the upper-hand. Sergio is going to be big one day and that day may be soon, but because of how close the Benavidez fight was, I see Henry coming in, working his ground game and just keeping Pettis there with a win by TKO in the second.