UFC 211 odds, gambling guide

Welcome MMA bettors, speculators, and gambling lurkers! We’re back at it again for another week of comprehensive gambling analysis from your friends at MMA Fighting.

As always, a disclaimer: This aims to be an exhaustive preview of the fights in context with the odds, and doubles as a breakdown of where you can find betting value. The number after the odds on each fighter is the probability of victory that those odds imply (so Miocic at -145 means he should win 59 percent of the time). If you think he wins more often than the odds say, you should bet it because there’s value in the line.

All stats come from FightMetric and all the odds are from Best Fight Odds. Net Value means how much money you would have made if you bet $100 on that fighter in every one of his/her fights that odds could be found for. Doubly as always, I’m trying to provide the most thorough guide I can for those who want to legally bet or who just enjoy following along. If you are a person who chooses to gamble, only do so legally, responsibly, and at your own risk.

Now with all that out of the way, let’s go.



Breakdown

In the main event, Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight title against the last man to beat him, Junior dos Santos. For Miocic, a win solidifies himself as one of the best heavyweights ever and ties him for the most successful heavyweight title defenses at two. For dos Santos, it’s possibly his last shot at UFC gold and a chance to reclaim the title he lost to Cain Velasquez.

Miocic is the quintessential jack of all trades, master of none. He can box, he can wrestle, and his game is held together by his combination of athleticism, durability, and cardio. More often than not, Miocic prefers to use his boxing. He throws a very high volume and he does so with technical proficiency. His striking is built around sharp footwork and a snapping jab-cross combination. He can apply pressure (leaving discernible openings for his opponent), but he’s much better on the counter, slipping and shifting into a pretty check hook and an excellent back-stepping cross-counter.

Aside from boxing, Miocic has had clear success working his wrestling and ground-and-pound. He has good entries into single leg takedowns (particularly off the counter) and clean finishes. His top game is like his stand-up, lots of volume that wins rounds and wears his opponents down. He doesn’t look to pass much but he will posture up and land good strikes from inside the guard and he doesn’t need much space to do so.

Like many aging fighters (aging in cage-time, not years of life), dos Santos appears to be fading physically, though he has more than made up for this with serious technical and strategic improvements. For most of his career, dos Santos was an athletic power-puncher with sharp boxing and quick hands. He was also impossibly durable and difficult to take down, a combination which led him to the heavyweight title.

The problem for dos Santos was mostly strategic. He never possessed great footwork and was prone to crumble under consistent pressure, like Cain Velasquez put on him in their second and third meetings. Dos Santos has made huge improvements in his movement, and that could pay big dividends for him in Dallas. If his last fight with Rothwell is any indication, today’s dos Santos is happy to stay on his bike, moving and countering in combination, or throwing straight shots to the body of his opponent.

There are a ton of variables to this fight. JDS’s strategic approach has improved in large part because his durability was greatly diminished by the beatings he took from Velasquez. He also hasn’t been all that active lately, whereas Miocic has been busy. Still, dos Santos is a specialist while Miocic is an all-rounder. If Miocic can’t take dos Santos down, the fight should favor the former champion. If dos Santos stays moving and forces Miocic to pressure, there will be plenty of openings to hurt the champion. The basic math for the main event is this: Miocic is too hittable and dos Santos is too violent. The pick is dos Santos by KO in the second round, and I like him for a bet at underdog odds.



Breakdown

In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on one of the toughest tests, defending her strawweight title against the young bruiser, Jessica Andrade. A win for Jedrzejczyk puts her one away from tying Ronda Rousey’s women’s record of six straight title defenses, and likely sets her up for a fight with Rose Namajunas later this year. For Andrade, a win would be the culmination of the promise she has shown since dropping down to 115 pounds.

Jedrzejczyk is one of the best strikers in MMA today with a wealth of expertise stemming from her time training kickboxing under Ernesto Hoost. Jedrzejczyk works behind a piston-like jab which sets up the rest of her offense. From that, she attacks the head and body in combination and with volume. The volume is key for Jedrzejczyk. She’s not an enormous one-hitter-quitter type puncher but she has good power and the amount of heavy punches she lands wears opponents down rapidly.

The rest of Jedrzejczyk’s game compliments this all very well. She has excellent footwork and distance management, allowing her to maintain her preferred punching range. When fighters can work their way inside on her, Jedrzejczyk is a handful on the interior as well with her elbows and knees and she’s an elite defensive wrestler and she’s good at making fighters pay for failed takedown attempts.

Andrade is an exceptional athlete with a game built to maximize her explosiveness and power. From the opening bell, Andrade pressures opponents and looks to unload Tekken-style hook combinations to the body and head. She has great hand speed, so when she does corner a fighter she can unleash dozens of shots in mere seconds. She’s a powerful puncher but — similar to John Lineker — Andrade’s punches aren’t out-cold KO shots. They’re thudding shots that overwhelm whoever is eating a dozen of them in rapid succession.

Andrade is also an excellent wrestler. Formerly a powerful 135-pounder, Andrade at strawweight is one of the division’s strongest competitors, and she uses that physicality to bully opponents with explosive wrestling and clinch control, the latter of which she uses to drag opponents to the mat. On top, Andrade is tough to shake and utilizes that same power to land heavy strikes. She’s no slouch in transitions either, as she has an excellent guillotine.

Andrade may be Jedrzejczyk’s toughest test in the division. Her speed, pressure, power, and stamina pose a host of problems for Jedrzejczyk, who often wins by relying on those very attributes. Still, Jedrzejczyk is a far superior technician and she has gotten increasingly better at playing the matador, a skill she’ll need to use here.

What puts me over the edge toward the champion, though, is the clinch fighting. Andrade is strong, but she’s still small in stature and tends to get lazy in the clinch, whereas Jedrzejczyk’s frame and slashing elbows should score points and give her another phase of the game to operate in. In the end, Jedrzejczyk just has more areas to succeed in and more depth of skill to make those areas the ones in which the fight is contested. The pick is Jedrzejczyk by narrow decision in the ‘Fight of the Night,’ but I favor placing a value bet on Andrade since the odds should be close to even.



Breakdown

Demian Maia takes on Jorge Masvidal in a fight that may well determine the next welterweight title challenger. Maia has been on a tear recently, winning six in a row over top competition, and a win should guarantee him a chance at the belt. Likewise, Masvidal has looked sensational since moving up to 170 pounds and a win over Maia would be the biggest of his career and give him an excellent case for a title shot.

Maia is a throwback to a simpler time of MMA, when pure specialists roamed the land. Despite the increasing prevalence of focused striking games as the dominant skill set, Maia succeeds by being the very best grappler in MMA, along with being an incredibly effective wrestler. Maia’s game is all about getting a tie up with his opponent, and from there it is a decision tree of options. In the clinch, he has foot sweeps and throws or he can drop levels to attack the legs with chains of singles and doubles. He’s not the cleanest nor the most explosive finisher, but he is dogged in his pursuit of takedowns and, if all else fails, he’s not averse to pulling guard and transitioning from that into a roll up single or using an excellent arm drag to sneak around to the back.

Once on the ground, nobody is better than Maia. His game is fundamentally flawless, prioritizing positional dominance over everything. He moves through positions seamlessly, finding his way eventually to mount or back mount where locks in a fight-ending choke.

On the feet, Maia… well, he’s there. He knows how to punch and kick but still looks gangly and uncomfortable doing so. His striking mostly exists to disguise his relentless takedown attempts. Predominantly, he uses a jab feint to set up his outside shot. Beyond that, there isn’t much to write home about here because everything is just a prelude to the grappling game.

Masvidal is a well-rounded fighter and an exceptional technician. A seasoned veteran who began fighting in boatyards as a teenager against much larger men, Masvidal is a defensive genius on the feet. He has layers of defense that set up a strong counter-punching game, but he’s not restricted to that. Masvidal can fight at all ranges and moving in all directions, specifically behind a piercing jab and stinging low kicks. When openings arise, Masvidal has excellent timing and enough power that when he sits down on shots, they can hurt opponents.

While striking is his bread and butter, Masvidal is well-versed everywhere else. He has an offensive wrestling game that’s better than average and his timing on single legs is tricky enough to be successful. Masvidal is also a very good grappler — remember, he tapped Michael Chiesa, which is nothing to sneeze at — and he has above average ground and pound. His biggest weakness is a general lack of volume and a tendency to do “just enough” to get it done rather than putting a mark on the fight. That kind of complacency has burned him with judges more than once. However, in his most recent outings he appears to be fighting with greater purpose, urgency and — frankly speaking — a meanness, something that bodes well for his run as an elite welterweight.

As with all Maia fights, this is a classic striker versus grappler affair. In a just world, Maia would tap Masvidal quickly and take his rightful title shot this summer, but we all know MMA is far from just. Even so, I’m going to side with Maia here. Masvidal is a much better striker and an excellent defensive wrestler, but Maia is the bigger man, and he has taken down better wrestlers than Masvidal. Realistically, two takedowns is all he needs to win the fight. The pick is Maia by boa constrictor in the second round, but if either guy gets to over +100, there’s value in betting that.



Breakdown

Frankie Edgar takes on Yair Rodriguez in a showcase bout between the aging veteran and the new kid on the block. Edgar is a former lightweight champion who has twice come up short against featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo. A win over the young, hotshot prospect Rodriguez likely cements his bid for a third title shot, if Max Holloway unseats Aldo later this year. For Rodriguez, this is his chance to announce himself as one of the truly elite at 145 pounds. With the UFC loving his ascension and his star power in Mexico, a victory here may well earn Rodriguez the next shot at the champion, regardless of who holds the strap.

Edgar is a classic wrestle-boxer and one who has continued to make technical improvements despite being a long-tenured veteran. He has quick footwork which allows him to dart in and out of exchanges on the feet, working head-body combinations and piling up points. This isn’t the most threatening offense but it’s consistent, it wins rounds, and builds momentum for Edgar who gets stronger as the fight progresses.

Edgar’s constant boxing attack also creates big opportunities for his wrestling. Edgar disguises his entries behind strikes beautifully, and he has a variety of finishes either from a single or double leg position. Once he gets his opponent to the ground, Edgar has ferocious ground-and-pound. This has been an area where he has shown his biggest improvement over the last few years. Edgar is absolutely ruthless on the floor.

Rodriguez is a highly-touted prospect with a creative and brutally violent striking arsenal. He has an array of vicious kicks and functional footwork to maintain a long distance where he can use those weapons the most efficaciously. He’s still developing a boxing game, especially on the interior where he is hittable, but he has excellent speed and power when he does punch. He also switches stances effortlessly which creates a lot of uncertainty in the defense of his opponents.

Despite the gushing about his striking acumen, grappling is probably the strongest part of Rodriguez’s game. He’s a sneakily good offensive wrestler and an improving defensive one, aided by his ability to maintain a long range. As a top position grappler, Rodriguez works sharp ground-and-pound and he’s good at passing and holding position. From the bottom, he’s even more aggressive, constantly moving his hips to find attacks but quick to stand back up if he’s not finding a sweep or submission.

Can Edgar work takedowns? That’s the fundamental question here because if he can’t he’s going to get lit up. Rodriguez is younger, faster, longer, and he’ll force Edgar to wade through brutal salvos of offense to try and get takedowns and I just don’t see it happening. Rodriguez announces himself as the next featherweight contender, stopping Edgar in the third round with something magical and violent and I like him for an underdog bet.



Breakdown

In the pay-per-view opener, Krzysztof Jotko welcomes former two-weight WSOF champion David Branch back to the Octagon in a bout that was bumped up from the undercard after Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis was cancelled this week. A win here puts either man right in the thick of the middleweight rankings and should earn the winner a bout with one of the many highly-ranked contenders trying to standout in a crowded title hunt.

Jotko is a young, rangy southpaw who throws straight punches and a variety of kicks. He doesn’t have a lot of power but he piles up volume and he has fantastic takedown defense to keep things where he wants them. Jotko also has a complete ground game, more than holding his own in prolonged grappling exchanges with BJJ black belt Thales Leites. He has underrated offensive wrestling, good control on top, and excellent submission awareness.

Branch is a well-rounded fighter, who is competent on the feet but does his best work from top position. He uses long jabs with the occasional straight right to maximize his 81-inch reach until he can work his way into the clinch or a shot-takedown. From there he has an excellent combination of control, striking, passing, and submissions to give anyone in the division problems.

This looks to be a pretty straightforward affair: either Branch gets takedowns or Jotko’s volume and kicking game outpoints him on the feet. Jotko is eight years younger, steadily improving, and his takedown defense is great. Branch will fail in the wrestling and though he won’t get embarrassed on the feet, he will clearly lose the rounds. The pick is Jotko by decision and a prop bet on Jotko by decision at +130 is a good bet or parlaying him with another fighter down the card is fine.



Breakdown

Former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez takes on ninth-ranked Dustin Poirier in his first fight since losing the title to Conor McGregor at UFC 205 last year. A win doesn’t exactly return Alvarez to title contention (such was the nature of his demolition), but it is at least a chance to wash the taste from his mouth after his last performance. For Poirier, a win over Alvarez would be the biggest win of his career and earn him another shot at the elite of the division while a loss would likely be the end of any real title aspirations he has.

Alvarez is mostly a veteran wrestle-brawler who has turned into a more refined boxer with his work under Mark Henry. He can operate in both directions on the feet, though he’s less comfortable as a pressure fighter, preferring to stick on the outside, cut angles, and counter. He has good natural power and his right hook to the body is a potent weapon, but he also tends to get hit, especially early, and though he’s ruggedly tough, you have to wonder if his many years in the game and his propensity for brawling is starting to catch up with him.

Aside from striking, Alvarez also has a strong secondary line of attack through his wrestling game. He doesn’t have the most explosive shot or cleanest finishes, but he is dogged in his pursuit of the takedown and his physical strength and endless cardio mean he can grind fights down to a halt if need be. On top, he’s got solid control and striking and he’s pretty good at getting to the back and securing the rear-naked choke.

Poirier is a well-rounded fighter who has found his stride since moving up to the lightweight division. Despite spending a long time as a featherweight, Poirier is one of the biggest punchers at 155 pounds. At range, has a good jab and thudding left kicks as well as a heater of a left straight. But although he’s fine at range, where Poirier thrives is as an inside fighter. He’s an excellent combination boxer in the pocket and he works all levels of the body well. He’s willingness to exchange in close quarters means he gets hit a lot, but it’s a calculated decision based on him bringing more power to the firefight.

Poirier is also an excellent clinch fighter. He has good knees and trips from that range, and he has a nice uppercut that he hides behind his own head before bringing it up the body to score. He’s a good defensive wrestler and he has solid takedowns of his own as well. Once on top, he is a powerful ground-and-pounder with solid scrambling and control.

This is an extremely tough rebound fight for the former champion. Poirier will carry many of the same physical advantages that McGregor did from Alvarez’s last fight and we all saw how that worked out for “The Underground King.” Alvarez gets hit early and often and was especially susceptible to straight left hands, one of Poirier’s best punches. Moreover, Alvarez is easily drawn into brawling exchanges in the pocket and there are few people at lightweight better at that than Poirier. Add in a genuine concern that Alvarez’s best days are behind him and everything seems to be coming up Poirier here. Poirier is still hittable so it’s possible the former champion lands a big shot in the exchanges and knocks him out, but the more likely scenario is that Poirier lands the kill shots and gets his hand raised. The pick is Poirier by first-round KO, but the odds are good here so I would pass.


THE OTHERS

Chas Skelly (-125/56%) vs. Jason Knight (+105/49%)

Skelly is a grinder by trade but one with an aggressive submission game to compliment his NAIA All-American wrestling pedigree. He also showed dramatically improved striking in his last fight which can be attributed to his work with Henri Hooft. He flashed a decent jab and straight right hand to compliment his natural sense of timing. Knight is affectionately known as “Hick Diaz” for his aggressive boxing on the feet and his extremely active guard game. He’s a poor defensive wrestler but his rubber guard creates a world of troubles for fighters looking to take him down.

Can Skelly get takedowns? That’s the key question here. Skelly has improved his boxing but Knight is still the more skilled and more active striker and if it stays standing, Knight is gonna chew him up. This is a razor close fight but I think Knight has improved his wrestling enough to have the advantage here. Hopefully there is some grappling because that could be extremely fun to watch but the pick is Knight by unanimous decision in an extremely fun contest and I like him for a bet at underdog odds.

Marco Polo Reyes (+350/22%) vs. James Vick (-420/81%)

Reyes is a power-punching boxer with a penchant for getting into brawls. He’s throws excellent combinations in the pocket and both hands have fight changing power. He’s a bad defensive wrestler but he’s active in getting back to his feet when taken down. Vick is enormous for the lightweight division and sports big advantages in reach and height. He’s fights well at range behind kicks and a long jab and he’s uses his frame well in the clinch too. He also has an absolutely lethal set of chokes from the front headlock, making wrestling with him a dangerous proposition.

This fight is much closer than the odds suggest. Vick’s biggest issue is his defense and his propensity for getting hit by left hooks, a specialty of Reyes. Reyes’ pressure and power can certainly create problems for Vick. That being said, Vick is durable and Reyes struggled navigating the distance against Jason Novelli in his last fight, the same reach advantage Vick will have. Vick is a more potent offensive threat than Novelli and with the striking being close to a wash otherwise, I favor the man with the inherent physical advantages. The pick is Vick by third round submission but a value bet on Reyes is suggested since these odds are nuts.

Jessica Aguilar (-115/53%) vs. Cortney Casey (-105/51%)

Aguilar is the former number one women’s strawweight in the world (back before the UFC implemented the division). She’s a well-rounded fighter with a high-volume boxing game but she excels with her wrestling and top control grappling. Casey is a big, athletic strawweight who has been improving drastically each time out. She’s uses good footwork and a long jab on the feet to maintain distance and she’s ferociously strong in the clinch and on the floor.

Casey’s biggest issue is her defensive wrestling (which is bad), and Aguilar can certainly test her there, but for “JAG” to do that, she must navigate a substantial height and reach advantage (four inches of both). Aguilar has also been out for almost two years and is coming off a torn ACL, whereas Casey is younger, a better athlete, and should be able to dominate in the clinch with her size and strength. The pick is Casey by unanimous decision and she’s worth a bet if she stays this low.

Chase Sherman (-145/59%) vs. Rashad Coulter (+125/44%)

Sherman’s a light-on-his-feet heavyweight who likes to box in the pocket and has decent kicks at range. He’s a defensive disaster but he’s got a great chin and solid cardio to compensate. Coulter is a well-built, powerful heavyweight with thunder in his punches and vicious knees. He’s coming in on short notice though, and his record has no notable wins.

Sherman’s head never met a punch it didn’t like to get hit by and that spells trouble against a hitter the likes of Coulter. This should look a lot like the Walt Harris, fight where Sherman gets dinged up by the guy with the heavier artillery. The pick is Coulter by KO in the second round, but since he is coming in on short notice and making his UFC debut, I advise caution if you choose to bet him.

Gabriel Benitez (-140/58%) vs. Enrique Barzola (+120/45%)

Benitez is a southpaw striker who prefers to operate at range, setting the distance with chopping inside leg kicks. He has a sharp counter left straight and he works the body well. Barzola is also a striker but a more athletic and diverse one than Benitez. He has an active jab and throws in combination while also mixing in spinning attacks and a potent wrestling game.

This is a tough fight to call. Barzola will consent to fight at Benitez’s range for the most part and Benitez’s body work and pace should be effective; however, Barzola’s jab and combinations attack the many holes in Benitez’s defense. Ultimately, I think Barzola’s wrestling will be the difference, keeping Benitez guessing and mitigating his superior counter attack. Benitez will win stretches but Barzola will win more of them on his way to taking a razor close decision and as such, I like him for a bet.

Joachim Christensen (+300/25%) vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov (-360/78%)

Christensen is a big, well-rounded light heavyweight. He’s an active striker who pumps a consistent jab and works in combination on the feet. He’s dreadful defensively but has a good chin, and a BJJ black belt and active clinch give him strong secondary tools. Antigulov is a powerful light heavyweight who’s surprisingly light on his feet. A Russian Master of Sport in wrestling, Antigulov can grind in the clinch or snatch a single leg and work opponents over on top with efficacious punching, passing, and submissions.

Christensen is fresh off a win over another short, stocky wrestler in Bojan Mihajlovic but Antigulov is a different animal, being better in almost every facet of the game and eight years Christensen’s junior. Antigulov needs takedowns to overcome Christensen’s four-inch height and six-inch reach advantage and I think he can get them. I also favor him to win the pressure battle, as both men operate much better coming forward but Antigulov is more adamant. The pick is Antigulov by decision in a close, back-and-forth affair, but with the odds this wide, a value bet on Christensen is worthwhile.


BETTING SUMMARY

  • Junior dos Santos at +125
  • Jessica Andrade at +140
  • Yair Rodriguez at +105
  • Krzysztof Jotko by decision at +130
  • Jason Knight at +105
  • Cortney Casey at -105
  • Enrique Barzola at +120
  • Half-bet on Marco Polo Reyes at +350
  • Half-bet on Joachim Christensen at +300

Conditional Bets

  • Demian Maia or Jorge Masvidal if either gets to +100

It’s been a few weeks since our last go, and Nashville wasn’t too kind to us. We went 3-4 on bets for a loss of $54 (calculating based on betting $100 per bet). Hopefully we will rebound this week with a lot of underdogs coming through for us. That being said, I am picking a lot of underdogs this week — and a lot of bets in general — so this week could feasibly backfire spectacularly. Only time will tell but pay special heed to the Editor’s Note at the bottom here.

Enjoy the fights everyone, good luck to those who need it, and if you’ve got any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew.


(Editor’s note: All of this advice is for entertainment purposes only.)

Source: mmafighting

Watch UFC 211: Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2 live stream online, fight time, TV schedule

The UFC is back this weekend! And with it, comes two title fights atop a card of big name match-ups. Read on for all the ways you can watch tonight’s UFC 211 action. After a few weeks off the UFC is back with an event that promises – at least on paper – to deliver a thrilling night of fisticuffs. With previous cards lacking star-power, UFC 211 comes crashing in with two title fights and a host of high ranked fighters known to put on exciting contests.
The main event sees UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic defend his belt for the second time. His opponent is a familiar one, Junior Dos Santos – who defeated Miocic back in 2014. JDS is 3-3 in his last six contests, whereas Miocic is on a 4-fight win streak. Will Miocic find revenge in Dallas, TX or does Dos Santos still have what it takes to beat Cleveland’s finest?
The co-main features the Polish pistol Joanna Jedrzejczyk defending her UFC women’s strawweight title versus Jessica Andrade. The undefeated Joanna Champion has reigned since 2015 and will be looking for her 5th title defense versus the powerful Brazilian. Andrade is a relatively new face in the division, who has spent her career beating up much larger women. Is tonight the night Joanna finally meets her match?
The rest of the pay-per-view card is stacked with fascinating match-ups. At 170lbs submission savant Demian Maia defends his claim to the welterweight throne against the surging Jorge Masvidal. Before that, lightweight legend Frankie Edgar faces hotshot Yair Rodriguez at 145lbs, and criminally underrated Krzysztof Jotko welcomes former WSOF two-division champ David Branch to the UFC’s middleweight division.
The FX prelims card, which begins at 8 PM ET, is headlined by a PPV worthy contest between former lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez and the always-exciting Dustin Poirier. Elsewhere on the prelims, there’s a featherweight clash between Chas Skelly and Jason Knight, a heavyweight fight between Chase Sherman versus Rashad Coulter and a lightweight bout between James Vick and Marco Polo Reyes.
A 3-fight early prelim card starts the night (only on UFC Fight Pass) at 6:30PM ET. That card builds to a women’s strawweight clash between Jessica Aguilar and Cortney Casey. Fight Pass also features Joachim Christensen versus Gadzhimurad Antigulov at light heavyweight, and Gabriel Benitez against Enrique Barzola at 145lbs.

Here’s how you can watch all of tonight’s action.
LIVE UFC 211 Results and PBP
Online

The first fights of the night are available exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT.
The FX portion of the card is available on the FOX Sports GO digital streaming service.
The UFC 211 pay-per-view card can be purchased online through UFC.tv. It begins at 10:00PM ET/7:00PM PT.
The pay-per-view can also be purchased and viewed on the UFC’s official YouTube channel.

LIVE UFC 211 Results and PBP
Television

The four preliminary bouts (shown between the Fight Pass and PPV portions of the event) will air on FX beginning at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.
Almost every major cable or satellite provider offers the PPV in either standard or high definitions. A list of carriers is available here.
TV streaming services Roku, Apple TV, LG Smart Apps, Amazon FireTV, and Samsung Apps will carry the UFC Fight Pass prelim bouts (you need a UFC Fight Pass membership to view, though). Fight Pass can also be accessed with Xbox Live.

The PPV is also available for purchase on Apple TV, Samsung Apps, Amazon FireTV, and LG Smart Apps, as well as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Store (through their dedicated gaming consoles).

LIVE UFC 211 Results and PBP
Tablet/Mobile
Those with Android or Apple devices can watch UFC 211 on apps available at the Google Play and iTunes stores.
LIVE UFC 211 Results and PBP
Bars
If you feel like going out, you can watch UFC 211 at the following bars and/or restaurants. If you do go out, don’t forget to tweet us picture @BloodyElbow of you and your crew enjoying the show!
LIVE UFC 211 Results and PBP
Readers outside the United States can find international listing details here on UFC.com.

Source: bloody

He’s taken some pretty severe lumps, but Junior dos Santos just keeps coming forward

To kick off the UFC’s partnership deal with FOX in 2011, Junior dos Santos turned an hour-long broadcast special into a 64-second blink-at-your-own-peril showcase of just how sudden things can change in MMA. Dos Santos not only delivered the first punch to the casual living room, he took the heavyweight title from Velasquez, setting up a brutal best-of-three series between the two, in which Dos Santos came out on the short end in subsequent tries. Some 5 1/2 years later, he is fighting for another title at UFC 211.

That is some serious perseverance.

JDS’s return to contention has been very subtle. He hasn’t vied for the spotlight the way some contenders have, nor lodged endless complaints about his standing. When times got tough for him, such as when he lost the third Velasquez fight at UFC 166 and had his daylights dimmed in the process, Dos Santos restored himself quietly. Over the years, his disposition has rarely been anything other than sunny. He wins, he loses, he stays fairly even keel. In some ways, he is everything the fight game can do without. There really isn’t a friendlier assassin, and marketing warmth is a hard trick to turn.

Yet if there’s ever been a pendulum fighter who gets tougher to figure out the further he goes along — who in fact confuses you on which way to swing your dread (towards him or his opponent) — it’s “Cigano.” He’s the only man to defeat the five most recent heavyweight champions: Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, Frank Mir, Shane Carwin and Stipe Miocic. You know he can knock out anybody the UFC puts in front of him. Power in the hands makes up for any overarching benignity.

He also took those hellacious beatings against Velasquez, going out on his proverbial shield to the point where the public winced for his long-term health. There’s still a question as to just how much that rivalry took out of him (as well as Velasquez, who hasn’t been the same since, either). He followed that up with a classic back-and-forth battle with Stipe Miocic — whom he meets again tonight in Dallas — which was essentially 25 minutes of severe chin-checking. Despite facing every deadly name on the roster, dos Santos never gets knocked out fast and clean.

If he loses, he makes sure to take a toll.

Like he did against Alistair Overeem in Florida 18 months ago, looking like a shell of the man that won seven straight heading onto the original FOX platform. That fight, when taken in context with all the battles before it, kicked up a decent amount of career eulogies. I can remember being in Orlando that night, and how the tolls of so many battles felt almost tangible.

Dos Santos? He just brushed himself off. Not too high on the highs, not too low on the lows.

Four months later he showed up in Zagreb for his fight with “Big” Ben Rothwell a smarter, more intuitive fighter, with technique, patience and a refined air of self-perseverance. He was countering, he was moving; he was getting out of the way. Where did that version come from? Some place that Junior had in reserve? — or, some place that Junior realized is the only place left to draw from? That fight, which was enough to gain him a shot at the title, signaled a philosophical shift in JDS’s thinking. He dominated for 25 minutes, and never once gave into a careless impulse.

Chances are he won’t have as easy a time of it against Miocic in a heavyweight title fight. The first bout was a war of attrition that ended with dos Santos getting his arm raised. With Miocic being a powered-up action fighter who has put away his last four opponents via KO/TKO — the last three in the first round — dos Santos will in all likelihood find himself in a familiar gun fight, taking some to land some. It feels like a certainty that the fight will deliver, because both fighters have something to prove. Miocic that he’s the best heavyweight going; dos Santos that he’s still there.

And he is. He’s still there. The man who has stood in with, knocked out, and been battered by the best heavyweights in the world is going to mix it up with Miocic again in Dallas. Somehow he’s fighting for a title again. That’s a mighty chin that JDS has, one that is only matched by the drape-closing power in his hands. It’s the latter that made him a champion all the way back when the UFC kicked off its FOX deal. It’s the other thing that holds up so well that at times it feels uneasy.

Source: mmafighting

UFC launches ‘Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender’ weekly series on July 11th

The UFC is serving up weekly fight cards from the TUF gym, starting on July 11th. As part of the UFC’s Summer Kickoff press conference, the promotion unveiled a brand new series coming to UFC Fight Pass beginning on Tuesday, July 11th. For any boxing fans who remember ESPN’s famed Friday Night Fights series, this looks to be the UFC equivalent to that.
Here’s the official press release on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series:

UFC® today announced a new, live, and exclusive UFC FIGHT PASS® show titled: Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, set to launch Tuesday, July 11, 2017. The new weekly series will feature five live fights in each episode, showcasing up-and-coming talent, as well as athletes striving to revive their professional mixed martial arts careers.
“This sport continues to get bigger all over the world, and the more fights we can put on, the more talent we can find, the better the events will be for the fans,” UFC President Dana White said. “I love looking for up-and-coming talent. This show’s going to give us another opportunity to bring in young fighters who we think have potential to make it in the UFC or maybe even one day become world champions. It’ll also give some fighters who might be in a slump or on their way out of the organization an opportunity for that last shot. I truly can’t watch enough fights and I think our fans will love this new FIGHT PASS show.”
Scheduled to be filmed in The Ultimate Fighter® gym in Las Vegas, White, alongside UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard, will be able to scout world-class talent right in the Fight Capital of the World. The Contender Series, which will be shot in front of a closed-studio audience, will serve as the ultimate vehicle to identify top prospects, and the next generation of UFC stars.

More details on this new weekly venture will be made shortly. That it’s only five fights and on Fight Pass means that fans can be treated to some UFC action without dedicating seven hours from prelim to main event. It’s certainly an interesting new avenue that the UFC is exploring and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
Source: bloody

UFC 211 predictions

UFC 211 is by far the best UFC pay-per-view of 2017. The card took some last-minute hits, losing a couple of fun fights, but the core managed to remain intact. UFC 211 is headlined by two championship bouts with Stipe Miocic defending his heavyweight belt against Junior dos Santos, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk putting her strawweight belt on the line against Jessica Andrade. Apart from the two title bouts, this card also features important divisional fights in Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal, Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez, and Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier.

What: UFC 211

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas.

When: The three-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 6:30 p.m. ET, the four-fight FX preliminary card begins at 8 p.m. ET, and the five-fight main card begins at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view.


Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos

The universe has hit the replay button on one of the greatest heavyweight fights in UFC history, and no one is complaining.

Stipe Miocic and Junior dos Santos first fought in the main event of UFC on FOX 13 back in December 2014. The fight was a striking clinic filled with violence and drama that had both men completely spent at the end of 25 minutes. That night, the judges gave the decision to dos Santos, but some thought Miocic had done enough to get the victory. Regardless of the result, the fight was extremely entertaining to watch.

Since the their first fight, Miocic went on to stop heavyweight veterans Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem while picking up the UFC heavyweight title in the process. Meanwhile, dos Santos was fairly inactive and only competed twice, falling short to Overeem and then outpointing Ben Rothwell.

I don’t find Miocic and dos Santos’ circumstances leading up to this rematch to be so much different from each other to make me believe we’ll experience something completely different than the first bout. Both fighters have looked good in their recent performances and both seem to be in great shape from what we saw at Friday’s weigh-ins. This will probably be a close fight, but with just a few adjustments, I think Miocic takes this one.

Clinch fighting and abandoning takedowns: Miocic had a brilliant game plan against dos Santos, but it had one small flaw that cost him the fight. Miocic looked to clinch often to control and tire out dos Santos, but to also take advantage of the small window between the breaking of the clinch and reset back to the striking to sneak in hard blows. Many of Miocic’s significant shots came during that break.

But Miocic’s plan to wear on dos Santos also involved takedowns, which ended up hurting him instead. Dos Santos has an incredible takedown defense, and constantly trying to get him on the canvas can prove to be an exhausting task. Miocic was no exception to this, and after 10 minutes of fighting, he was more tired than dos Santos. From then on, we saw a dos Santos that was able to push the pace and become the aggressor in the fight.

You belong, Stipe, you belong: While dos Santos is mentally and experience wise the same fighter he was back at UFC on FOX 13, Miocic is not.

The Cleveland native has really done most of his maturing in MMA after the first bout with dos Santos. Prior to that, Miocic was certainly considered a prospect but wasn’t classified as a top tier heavyweight, and with good reason, as Miocic only had wins over the likes of Fabio Maldonado, Philip De Fries, Gabriel Gonzaga, Joey Beltran and Roy Nelson. In the lead up to this rematch, Miocic told reporters he realized he belonged at the top of the division after taking dos Santos to a close decision. That sparked a change in him that helped him become the champion of the world.

I can buy that. Today’s Miocic seems much more confident, experienced, and used to the bright lights than the one at UFC on FOX 13.

Prediction: I see Miocic approaching this rematch in a similar way to the first one. I think Miocic will pressure dos Santos, use the clinch, but drop the takedowns in order to invest his energy somewhere where it can be more effective, say more clinching or striking. Certainly this is a fight involving two skilled heavyweight strikers so anything can happen, but I feel the momentum going in Miocic’s favor.

Pick: Miocic

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade

Joanna Jedrzejczyk will be attempting to defend her strawweight title for a fifth time, but in her way is the most interesting challenger she’s faced in the UFC.

Last year, Jessica Andrade left the women’s bantamweight division to join the strawweight roster. Fighting opponents 20 pounds lighter, the Brazilian has been able to make an impressive run that includes a technical knockout win over Jessica Penne, a submission victory over Joanne Calderwood, and a unanimous decision win former Invicta FC strawweight champ Angela Hill. Andrade has looked nothing but dominant in all her wins at 115 pounds, and has truly been a refreshing addition to the weight class.

Although Jedrzejczyk experienced some issues with Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the Polish fighter has generally been dominant in her UFC reign. Jedrzejczyk, who’s terrorized her opponents with her tenacious striking, won the strawweight belt back in 2015 – defeating Carla Esparza – and has defended the belt a total of four times with no major scares of possibly losing it.

I usually pick Jedrzejczyk with ease to defend her title, but this fight with Andrade has made me think twice about picking the champion. Andrade brings several skills to the table that could give Jedrzejczyk trouble. Below we take a look at those factors:

Athleticism and grappling: I find Andrade’s biggest weapon against Jedrzejczyk to be her ridiculous strength advantage. Obviously, strength alone won’t get you very far in MMA, but add takedowns and a decent top game to the equation, and you have a fighter that can win fights. This is very much the case here. Andrade was never out-muscled at bantamweight, so now fighting opponents 20 pounds lighter, Andrade’s strength has turned into a significant factor every time she sets foot on the Octagon.

Last year, we saw Jedrzejczyk drop the first two rounds of the rematch against Gadelha to strength and grappling. However, Gadelha’s problem was that she wasn’t able to keep up the with Jedrzejczyk’s resilience and constant defending so she fatigued half way through the fight, which led her to lose a decision. Although both strong for strawweight, Andrade doesn’t seem to share the same cardio issues of Gadelha. We recently saw Andrade fight Hill at a very high pace for 15 minutes and the Brazilian still looked to have a few rounds in her at the end of the bout.

Pressure, pressure and more pressure: I don’t think this is as significant as the point above, but I do find Andrade’s tendency to relentlessly move forward worth noting. Andrade has often been compared to Wanderlei Silva and John Lineker – two fighters that only know one direction and that’s forward. Andrade is always pushing the pace, lunging towards her opponents with hooks to the head and body.

In Jedrzejczyk’s fight with Kowalkiewicz, we saw someone actually find some degree of success on the feet against Jedrzejczyk. Yes, this was because Kowalkiewicz is a great striker, but also because she was pressing forward, often keeping the champ on her heels. Being a fantastic striker, Jedrzejczyk was still able to land and counter while backing up, but it’s undeniable her best work comes when she’s planted and moving forward.

Prediction: This is a tough fight to call. Andrade is certainly not the most technical or polished fighter Jedrzejczyk has faced. I can definitely see the Jedrzejczyk having some issues with Andrade early, but adapting during the fight to outclass the challenger on the feet, as Jedrzejczyk is technically superior. However, I can’t imagine Andrade looking at the second Gadelha fight and not think, ‘hmm I can do that for three rounds, and then use my insane durability to get me through the other two.’

With that being said, I see Andrade closing the distance with her explosive striking, clinching the champ against the cage, and occasionally getting a takedown here and there to win a close decision.

Pick: Andrade

Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal

Ignoring the fact that Demian Maia should to be fighting for the belt, I’m all in for this scrap. Stylistically speaking, Jorge Masvidal vs. Maia is my second favorite booking this 2017 right behind Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (which sadly never happened).

I’ve been high on Masvidal for many years, but a string of bad decisions and low promotional push from the UFC kept him in obscurity for many years. Today, that seems to be a different story, and it feels we have a star in the making here. Masvidal is definitely one of the most well-rounded fighters in the roster. The 32-year-old has a polished and diverse striking arsenal, accompanied with great foot work and head movement. Masvidal can also score takedowns, avoid getting taken down, grapple on top or off his back, and score submission from many different positions.

Meanwhile, Maia is moderately well-rounded, but nowhere close to Masvidal. For a while, Maia tried to become a more complete fighter, focusing a lot on his striking since his grappling was already extraordinary, but that recipe didn’t fully work for the Brazilian. Today, Maia wastes no time to do what he does best as he now mainly focuses on taking down his opponent, achieving back mount, and getting a choke. It’s one of the oldest and simplest tactics in the game, but it’s insanely effective for him. To properly execute this tactic, Maia has added a solid takedown system to his game in the past few years. Maia’s takedowns, which are mainly composed of a single-leg shots, are not the most effective, but he’s so relentless with them, that one will eventually work, and that’s usually enough for a guy with flawless grappling technique.

I think it’s safe to say that Maia won’t out-strike or knock out Masvidal. This leaves Maia’s grappling and takedowns to be his only ticket to victory here. So will Maia be able to get Jorge Masvidal to the ground or at least control him enough against the cage to win on the scorecard? I have my doubts.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Masvidal were to get a win over Maia. Masvidal has a great takedown defense, and even if he were to get taken down, Masvidal is no scrub on the ground. Part of me sees this being a much like Maia vs. Rory Macdonald, but another just sees Masvidal getting controlled and outpointed in decision. Definitely the toughest fight to call from the card.

Pick: Maia

Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodríguez

While Yair Rodríguez may not be making a big jump in opposition star level, he’s definitely making a giant leap on skill, switching from B.J Penn to Frankie Edgar.

The Mexican featherweight has been a pleasure to watch in the UFC, as he has quickly made his mark as one of the most exciting and flashy prospects in the company. Today, the prospect label on Rodriguez seems to have faded away and the contender one appears to be settling in, as he’s now ranked seventh in the division and many MMA pundits are already bringing up the title contention talks.

But was this change in labels because Rodríguez has showed enough evolution and skill to be considered a threat to the champion? Or was this because he recently received a great deal of exposure by putting away the legendary Penn in the main event of a UFC card? I’d like to think both, but I’d say probably more of the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Rodriguez is a fantastic fighter that will have a very bright future in MMA. However, I don’t think his time to face top contenders is here – at least the Edgar kind – and I find this jump in competition to be quite concerning, considering he’s a guy the UFC is trying to build into a star for the Latin American market. In the past year, Rodriguez defeated non-ranked opponents Alex Caceres, Andre Fili and Penn, yet he’s now attempting to defeat the second-ranked featherweight. What happened to building up towards the top? I think Rodriguez could use a few more fights before entering the mix of the elite at featherweight, maybe face game opponents such as Jeremy Stephens, Renan Barao, heck even a Godofredo Pepey before throwing him against a former champ in Edgar.

As you may guess by now, I think this is a bad match up for “El Pantera” and I don’t necessarily like this fight for him. I see this bout being a similar contest to the Edgar vs. Cub Swanson bout, and maybe more dominant. At UFC Fight Night 92, we saw Caceres using distance to neutralize and reduce the effectiveness of Rodriguez’ kicks. The only problem Caceres encountered is that he wasn’t able to follow up on the openings he was creating when Rodriguez missed with his kick. To be fair, Caceres’ is not really the wrestling type, so he had very little to work with there. With that being said, I see Edgar being cautious, as Rodriguez is very dangerous, and keeping a conservative distance until there is an opening for a takedown. I know anything can happen in MMA, especially with an unorthodox striker such as Rodriguez, but I think Edgar has enough tools to earn a solid victory.

Pick: Edgar

Krzysztof Jotko vs. David Branch

This fight will likely not be fireworks, so I’m a bit confused as to why the UFC decided to promote it to the opening act of the UFC 211 pay-per-view, replacing the Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis match-up that fell through this week. Either way, this is an intriguing fight, and I’m curious to see how it plays out.

David Branch was last seen under the UFC umbrella back in 2011, and he’s improved a lot since. After his release from the UFC, the 35-year-old fighter went on to put together a 12-1 record – with his lone loss coming to two-time UFC title challenger Anthony Johnson – while picking up the middleweight and light heavyweight WSOF titles. Despite competing outside the UFC, Branch still defeated formidable opponents such as Jesse Taylor, Yushin Okami, Vinny Magalhaes, Clifford Starks and Danillo Villefort.

Meanwhile, Krzysztof Jotko is likely to be the dark horse of the middleweight division, as he has quietly put together five wins in a row and now finds himself in the top 10 of the rankings. Since his UFC debut in 2013, the American Top Team product has shown a good deal of improvement, and now seems to be a smarter and more complete fighter.

Jotko’s only professional loss came to the bigger, and better offensive wrestler Magnus Cedenblad back in 2014. This is a good sign for Branch, as he shines best when he’s grinding out his opponents with his wrestling, solid top control and ground-and-pound. However, I believe Jotko has come a long way since the Cedenblad loss, and he can fight strong grapplers a lot better than before. I see this being a close bout, but I think Jotko is a bit more polished and well-rounded than Branch. Jotko should avoid enough takedowns and do the necessary damage on the feet to get a decision.

Pick: Jotko

Undercard:

Eddie Alvarez def. Dustin Poirier

Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly

James Vick def. Marco Polo Reyes

Jessica Aguilar def. Cortney Casey

Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter

Enrique Barzola def. Gabriel Benítez

Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Joachim Christensen

Source: mmafighting

Chris Weidman vs. Kelvin Gastelum headlines UFC on FOX 25

UFC middleweights Chris Weidman and Kelvin Gastelum will serve as the main event for UFC on FOX 25 on Saturday, July 22nd. The first ever UFC show to take place on Long Island, New York has its main event. As was announced during Friday’s “Summer Kickoff” press conference, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman will take on contender Kelvin Gastelum.
Currently, Weidman (13-3) finds himself in a three-fight losing streak after being stopped by Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and, most recently, the bizarre second-round TKO vs. Gegard Mousasi at UFC 210 in Buffalo. The Long Islander’s last win came in May 2015, when he TKO’d Vitor Belfort in his final successful title defense prior to losing the belt to Rockhold.
Gastelum (13-2, 1 NC) is unbeaten in his last three outings, with victories over Johny Hendricks and Tim Kennedy. The Ultimate Fighter season 17 winner also knocked out Vitor Belfort in the first round of their UFC Fortaleza bout in March, but the win was overturned to a no-contest once Gastelum tested positive for marijuana in an in-competition drug test. Gastelum’s last loss was a November 2015 split decision vs. Neil Magny, in a five-round main event in Monterrey, Mexico.
UFC on FOX 25 takes place at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island, New York on Saturday, July 22nd. Also recently confirmed for the event is a bantamweight scrap between Jimmie Rivera and Thomas Almeida.
Source: bloody

UFC 211 start time, TV schedule for Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos 2

The UFC 211 start time, TV schedule for the Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos 2 event at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Saturday night. The fight card is broken into three different parts, each airing on three different mediums. This post will help explain which fights are airing where and at which times.

The main card airs on pay-per-view beginning at 10 p.m. ET. It is listed as follows:

Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade
Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal
Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez
David Branch vs. Krzysztof Jotko

More Coverage: UFC 211 Results | UFC news

The second portion of the preliminary card airs on FX at 8 p.m. ET. It is listed as follows:

Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier
Chas Skelly vs. Jason Knight
Chase Sherman vs. Rashad Coulter
Marco Polo Reyes vs. James Vick

The first portion of the preliminary card airs on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET. It is listed as follows:

Jessica Aguilar vs. Cortney Casey
Gabriel Benitez vs. Enrique Barzola
Joachim Christensen vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov

Source: mmafighting

Fightweets: Is Anderson Silva really going to walk away?

The best on-paper card so far in 2017 is finally here. But not without the usual doses of drama before we got here. So let’s get right into another edition of Fightweets:

Anderson Silva

@Inferrious: Where does Silva go from here?

Anderson Silva has legitimate reason to feel aggrieved after he ended up without a fight at UFC 212. He’s 42. He’s not going to have too many chances left to fight in his homeland of Brazil. He took his planned fight with Kelvin Gastelum seriously enough that he left his comfortable Southern California palace and returned to Brazil for a training camp.

Then the Gastelum fight fall apart (let’s pause for a moment and acknowledge the absurdity of marijuana-related suspensions in 2017), a suitable replacement couldn’t be agreed upon, and Silva decided to go home (the UFC deserves some credit for making refunds available to fans in Rio who had bought tickets specifically to see Silva fight).

So yeah, Silva has a right to be upset. The fact UFC president Dana White has said he needs to go out to Los Angeles to talk things out with Silva would seem to confirm this. Silva lost out on what could have been one of the final magic moments of his career. If he really does decide to walk away, would anyone blame him?

Still, this is far from the first time Silva’s gotten angry. And unlike in the past, when he was in his prime and could basically dictate his terms, the MMA world doesn’t revolve around Silva anymore. UFC 212 will go on without him. Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway was the headliner before the Gastelum thing fell apart and stays that way afterwards. Maybe that’s the thing that, deepest down, is bothering Silva.

Either way, Silva signed a long, lucrative contract right before his career-changing knockout loss to Chris Weidman, and he’s not likely to make this type of money again in his life, so when all’s said and done, one gets the gut feeling he’ll get over this in the long run.

And what about GSP?

@ArpanLobo: If you’re GSP, where do you go from here? Or flip side, what should the UFC do with GSP?

Good questions, both. We still need to see how things play out in the middleweight title picture before jumping to any conclusions. Sure, White’s saying the Michael BispingGeorges St-Pierre fight is off, but it could just be a way to amp up pressure on St-Pierre to try to step up his timetable. The idea of the UFC going with Bisping vs. Yoel Romero could turn out to simply be a variation from the same playbook the company used for UFC 205, where Khabib Nurmagomedov was used as a pawn to get the Conor McGregorEddie Alvarez match at UFC 205 finalized.

Of course, this could also at least partially be for another reason: The fans aren’t exactly storming the gates demanding to Bisping vs. GSP right now. Nothing about the reaction in the weeks since the fight has been announced screams that this is going to be the superfight that some roomful of WME consultants who never worked a day of their lives in the fight business likely decided it would be.

I’m not implying that St-Pierre’s return won’t be a big deal when it happens. It will be. It’s just that the longer this drags out, the less impact there it will have. And the longer the top middleweights are left to twist in the wind, the less fans seem interested in seeing the champion bypass all his top foes.

As for GSP, again, we need to see how this all plays out. Maybe the pressure gets him to sign on for an earlier Bisping date than he’d like. Maybe GSP calls their bluff and we end up with the bout in November or thereabouts after all. Or, if the Bisping thing really does fall apart, there’s another guy out there, one the fans have clamored to see him fight for years, who also seems to need the right inducement to fight again. Coughcough just make the Silva-GSP fight already coughcough.

The Ballad of Chuck and Matt

@christopher_kit: Matt Hughes saying let him decide if he wants to fight made me think. What are your thoughts on his possible return and vs who?

The notion that Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes will be the next old-school names to come out of retirement picked up steam this week, and Bellator CEO Scott Coker, whose company would seem their natural landing spot, added fuel to the fire by saying they’d talk.

Dana White and the Fertitta brothers did the noble thing by giving their legends Hall of Fame status and well-paid ceremonial job titles to retire. Contrast that to more than a century of combat sports promoters using up aging fighters until every last dime is made and then discarding them. Then the big corporate machine took over and Liddell and Hughes’ jobs for life were gone. Can you blame them for wanting another big paycheck when someone is out there providing them?

I don’t know, maybe because the wrong part of my brain would be way too easily entertained by the buildup of a potential Hughes-Matt Serra rematch, I tend to be less opposed to a Hughes return than Liddell. Or maybe it’s because I saw Liddell suffer one too many brutal knockouts, whereas the UFC pulled the plug on Hughes before it could get to quite as bad, which makes me rationalize that Hughes’ return would be easier to take than Liddell’s.

Either way, we know it is wrong on some level, and we know that if either fighter’s return happens, not only will we watch, but way more casual fans will tune in than for, say, a Michael Chandler fight or either of the big Bellator welterweight matchups coming up over the next couple months. Call it good, call it bad, call it the best we create which constantly needs to be fed.

Does DC need Jones?

@JustinRE94: Remember when DC said he was never going to fight Jones and it was time to forget about him? Do you think he knew that was crap?

I think this is more one of those deals where Cormier at the time really wanted to believe this was true, but deep down, he knew the score. At the time DC was making these sort of statements, he was still feeling the sting of the UFC 200 dropout and of having the rug pulled out from under him again through situations that were no fault of his own. If you were in his shoes, you’d probably have the same thoughts.

Then reality sets in. Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson was the biggest fight left to make at light heavyweight that didn’t involve Jones, and their UFC 210 bout didn’t exactly set the box office on fire. After that? How much business is giving Alexander Gustafsson his 9,000th title shot (I exaggerate somewhat) going to do outside of Sweden? Cormier’s 38 and while he’s still one hell of a fighter, he’s got a limited window on making the biggest bucks (is this a recurring theme this week or what?). Between a payday and the chance to redeem his only loss, yeah, maybe Cormier needs Jones more than he cares to admit.

I have to admit, over the past couple weeks, when Cormier and Jones have beefed over Twitter, I’ve sort of rolled my eyes. They had a “been there, done that” feel to them. But I also have to admit the way Cormier and Jones went at it at Friday’s “Summer Kickoff” press conference in Dallas reeled me right back in. They really, really, don’t like each other. Let’s hope this time, the fight actually makes it to the cage.

Saturday night’s fights

@johnny_davison: Just reviewed HW division contenders and noticed most are only on 1 fight win streak. So why JDS for the shot? (Not complaining though)

Why not? Fabricio Werdum is already locked up in a fight with Alistair Overeem (whom Miocic beat in his last fight). UFC’s gun shy on booking Cain Velasquez in a main event for understandable reasons, given his history with injuries. Francis Ngannou could be a contender, but he’s not ready, and Derrick Lewis, entertaining though he may be, is probably never getting there.


So why not JDS? Yeah, it’s a one-fight win streak, but if you push that out to three fights, he’s won two of three, with the other victory being over a certain fellow named Stipe. You’re not going to have to twist Stipe’s arm too hard to get him to accept an opportunity to avenge his only loss in five years, and hey, the first fight was pretty damn exciting. Buckle up, UFC 211 should be a fun one.

Source: mmafighting

Dana White to settle dispute with Anderson Silva ‘face-to-face’

Dana White plans to meet with Anderson Silva to help settle his issues with the UFC. Anderson Silva is not happy with the UFC and the former longtime middleweight champion has made his feelings known publicly.
‘The Spider’ was expected to face surging talent Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 212, but his opponent tested positive for marijuana metabolites and was immediately pulled from the pay-per-view.
The UFC looked to book a replacement opponent for Silva, but the Brazilian demanded an interim title fight against No. 1 contender Yoel Romero, vowing to retire if the UFC didn’t grant him his wish.
“The guys (UFC) no give this fight for me for the interim belt, I’m done. I’ll go be with my family. I’m done,” Silva said in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.
With Yoel Romero now set to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight belt, Silva has been officially removed from UFC 212 and will not be competing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Dana White, the UFC’s longtime president, has had fall outs with the former champ in the past — the most notable being when he stormed out of Silva’s main event against Demian Maia in 2010 — but Silva has never gone on a public rant against the UFC like he did on The MMA Hour last week.
White promises to meet with Silva face-to-face to settle the issue in private.
“I have to deal with tons of different personalities and egos and lots of different things with all of the athletes that I deal with,” White said yesterday on The Jim Rome Show, per Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. “Anderson Silva has always been one of those guys that’s been unique to deal with – (but) never at this level. I didn’t make Kelvin Gastelum test positive for marijuana and pull out of the fight, and we tried to make other fights and get other opponents for him.
“You can’t demand a title fight or (threaten), ‘I’m going to retire.’ Especially when you know that my philosophy is this: If you even mention the word ‘retirement,’ you should probably retire. I know he’s not thrilled and happy with me. He and I need to sit down and do a face-to-face.”
With Silva officially removed UFC 212, the most notable Brazilian fighters on the card are Jose Aldo and Vitor Belfort. Aldo will take on Max Holloway in a headlining featherweight title unification bout while Belfort, 40, will face Nate Marquardt in his retirement bout. The pay-per-view takes place on June 3 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Source: bloody

UFC 211: Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos 2 Toe to Toe Preview – A complete breakdown

Phil and David break down everything you need to know about Miocic vs. dos Santos 2 at UFC 211 in Dallas, and everything you don’t about fencing. Stipe Miocis vs. Dos Santos 2 headlines the heavyweight fight we didn’t know we were all waiting for this May 13, 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Single sentence summary
Phil: MMA’s most whitebread heavyweight champ defends his belt against the man who beat him last.
David: Heavyweight headlines more war than art in the Lone Star State.
Stats
Record: Stipe Miocic 16-2 Junior dos Santos 18-4
Odds: Stipe Miocic -130 Junior dos Santos +120
History / Introduction to the fighters
Phil: At some point, people will have to give Stipe his due… and perhaps that includes us. I feel like I’ve somewhat underplayed him. I didn’t pick him to beat Werdum, and nor did I pick him to beat Overeem. The primary issue seems to be that Miocic is just… good at stuff. While not being any kind of Mighty Mouse-esque phase-shifting dervish, he is nonetheless pretty skilled at every area of MMA. This has the weird side-effect of making his opponent’s look extra bad when he exploits their weaknesses, without making Miocic look any more impressive. It’s strange. We’ve waited years for a well-rounded, technical heavyweight champ, and now that he’s here, a lot of the buzz around him seems to be: meh.
David: I think at least some of this ‘who cares’ ectoplasm comes from his UFC debut. Miocic started his career the same way he has championed it: blue collar style. It’s cool and all. But it’s a little like those undersized white receivers in the NFL ala Wayne Chrebet – and possibly what explains the “I don’t like watching small fighters” phenomenon: we don’t pay and invest our time and money to see regular dudes accomplish impossible tasks. We pay to see gods. Not men. The faster the muscle twitch fibers, the more powerful the knuckles, the greater the promise is of pure unadulterated violence. Miocic doesn’t promise that even if that’s precisely what he’s done in recent fights (his last four wins are all by violent TKO). But again, I’m talking about promise. Not preponderance. On the latter, Miocic is the mountain king. He deserves it. But he’s not the god people expect to see plucking the wings off angels.
Phil: It does not seem very long ago that people were starting to talk about Junior Dos Santos’ MMA career in the hushed terms reserved for terminal hospital patients. That it took exactly one fight -a one-sided domination of Ben Rothwell- to turn that perception around was odd. On one level, it indicated that the rumours of the demise of JDS as an elite fighter were exaggerated. On the other, however, it also perhaps ignored that Ben Rothwell was a rather easy style matchup for the Brazilian. Finally, one of the biggest reasons had been that people thought Dos Santos looked terrible against Miocic. In retrospect, of course, that was a dumb take. Looking back on the fight, it is something of a classic; one of the best heavyweight scraps ever. Once again, however, that strange ability of Miocic to suck the impressiveness out of a bout was in full effect.
David: It’s hard to believe there was a time when JDS was bordering Arlovski status, post Kharitonov knuckleapocalypse. Fighting takes its toll. We’re so used to seeing that decay reveal itself in obvious terms, years later when the fighter is complaining of headaches and slurs his speech. We forget, or are unaware, that decay is an olive branch. And so JDS is in a strange spot for fans and himself. He is not the same fighter. He has been through absolute warfare. But for a moment, he looked like his old happy go punchy self, taking out Ben Rothwell with relative ease. And now here we are back to square one. Heavyweight is a flat circle.
What’s at stake?
David: If we’re talking in terms of heavyweight canon, a little. We’re not gonna get the next Fedor from the current crop of heavyweights. Even Fedor’s greatness was kind of a perfect storm of Japanese eccentricities. We have rote traditions instead. Except you. A British expat.
Phil: JDS becomes the best UFC heavyweight ever, and cements his place behind Fedor as a clear-cut #2 all-time. Miocic confirms himself as a genuinely great champion, one who can re-configure his approach to overcome tough style matchups. Either man likely gets Fabricio Werdum or the remnants of Cain Velasquez.
Where do they want it?
Phil: Miocic can fight at a variety of styles, but like JDS, he functions best as a mid-range fencer. He works behind a hard jab to the head, and while he has a little less craft with it than Dos Santos, he’s a more effective combination boxer, notably with his one-two. He’s also a bit more of an effective counter puncher, with a particularly nice backstepping cross. Miocic is also an excellent wrestler, and can hit doubles, singles and chain them together effectively. However, unlike Dos Santos’ rival Velasquez, he’s often not much of a transitional striker. He can box and wrestle and blend the two, but he can be a little offensively inert when it comes to clinch striking.
Over time he’s become more dynamic, starting to rack up the one punch KOs, and increasingly reveals himself to be a smart fighter, who comes out with cleverly tailored gameplans for each opponent.
David: Where do you get those wonderful (literary) toys? College? Football? Your role as current Bond techie? Fencing is a great device to describe Miocic’s style; with his stops and starts, he’s a technician of tactics rather than mechanics. His punches aren’t the quickest or hardest, but he knows where to place, when to outburst, and when to retreat. The mixture of tactical awareness and durability make him an unlikely champion, but efficiency is king in MMA, and it doesn’t always matter how you get there. It’s true he’s not a great transitional fighter. He’s not very fluid. In some ways he looks like proto-Edgar out there. But in their first fight he caught JDS a lot exiting the clinch, entering the clinch, and giving Cigano a false sense of proximity; reinforcing Miocic’s splendid spatial awareness. While Stipe has a sturdy wrestling base, it’s not his greatest asset. He succeeds on the strength of his timing more than anything. And his upright striking base conceals the normal tails that telegraph wrestling maneuvers.
Phil: Dos Santos is probably the more footslow and the less well-rounded of the two fighters. What makes this fight competitive, then? His jab. JDS increasingly fights out of a low, almost crouching stance, and lances his jab towards the opponent. Unlike many MMA fighters, JDS has decided that he’s going to make life a lot easier for himself by actually using the body jab, and has one of the most effective ones in the game. Essentially his left hand alone functions as a triple threat with the jab to the solar plexus and head, and the left hook around the opponent’s guard.
Junior’s right hand is comparatively ugly: a looping, tolling strike which comes from around his waist, but this often serves to catch his opponent off guard: he lulls the opponent into a technical fight, then throws the big-ass KO strike from his waist with weird timing, and it catches them off guard surprisingly often. Other than that, Dos Santos is a fantastic natural athlete: durable, fast and well-conditioned. While lacking in clinch offense, his takedown defense is excellent. His problem in almost all his fights has been his footwork: he simply cannot pivot or move quickly enough to stop aggressive fighters from forcing him to the fence, nor can he chase determined outfighters effectively.
David: The book on dos Santos is the same as ever was: death from afar, war up close. You’ve already articulated everything about Cigano that makes his left hand dangerous, and somewhat all-encompassing. So I’ll talk about the right. It’s true. JDS throws his right in binary terms- winging and whipping those metacarpels like a burning torch. But I think his brilliance is a little more subtle. Well, an uppercut isn’t subtle but his ability to lead with it or slip it underneath from range has made one of MMA’s premiere strikers. What hurts his efficiency is, as you mentioned, his movement. He treats punch defense like a limp leg sprawl; assuming he can retreat at range by just slipping away. Except he’s slow and doesn’t move his head.
This was his issue against Miocic in Phoenix. Stipe would initiate clinches and takedowns, and everytime JDS exited the pocket, Miocic would lash him with left hooks and lunging right hands. Miocic pieced him up good too. JDS’ durability (and left hand) just kind of took over when a left hook changed the momentum of the fight. Can JDS replicate that performance? I’m skeptical.
Insight from past fights
Phil: The obvious one is the first match between these two, but I think Miocic was wrong to try and duplicate the Velasquez pressure gameplan. I think Overeem proved that Dos Santos’ weakness is not so much when he’s pressured, as when he is forced to pressure. Essentially, the less time JDS spends at midrange, the weaker he is. Thus, I think Miocic’s best template was actually in the Werdum fight, where he stayed light on his feet and disrupted Werdum’s initial step-ins with inside low kicks. He started to clinically break Werdum down, and when Werdum tried to change the fight by bumrushing him, Miocic put him out instantly with the backstep cross. It was a fight which I remember as being much less impressive than it actually was. Dammit, Stipe.
David: I don’t like referring to the Werdum fight. It was a tactical blunder of Washington Capitals proportion. It was this, but in real life:

Werdum vs. Miocic

Maybe that’s not a great analogy since Statham and Diesel should have both been radiator fluid but you get the idea. Werdum is ridiculous in that fight, and I hope we never have to see something like that again.
I think the first JDS vs. Miocic fight is good for one thing: Miocic landed big punches, and blooded Cigano up early on. Does JDS have the durability to withstand that kind of attack again? I don’t think so.
X-Factors
Phil: I’ve said it before, but I really just struggle to nail down how good Stipe actually is. The Werdum fight was very impressive, but the Overeem fight was conversely absolutely dreadful (and did not improve on rewatch, unlike the Overeem bout), and Miocic was almost knocked out with the first punch which landed. This doesn’t seem like much of an X-Factor, but is honestly one of the most interesting things about this fight to me. What are the changes he can make? Because if he fights this fight like he did the last one, I think he loses it.
David: Agreed. Miocic isn’t in any sort of decline, but if he’s knocked out in the first minute, would it really shock anyone? One of the things we haven’t really addressed is Miocic’s defense. I honestly think it’s kind of mediocre. One of the reasons their first fight turned out the way it did is that neither guy had head movement. They just bounced off each other like Bandura’s bobo dolls.
Prognostication
Phil: I’ve gone back and forth and back and forth on this one. I think Miocic can definitely win the outfighting portion of the fight early on, and I think that Dos Santos’ improvements are perhaps slightly overplayed. However, I’m not sure that I trust Miocic not to get sucked into a boxing match; I don’t trust his defensive footwork not to fall away as he starts to enjoy just throwing hands. He’s also historically been a little vulnerable to lefts, which remain Dos Santos’ best tool. This should be a great fight. I’m going to change this pick tomorrow again. Stipe Miocic by unanimous decision.
David: JDS’ best chances are to jab, and seek with a lead uppercut. If he follows his previous gameplan, I think Miocic’s output becomes too much for JDS to recover from. It’s a tough matchup for both guys. They exploit each other’s weaknesses in a lot of ways. But I see Miocic landing early and often. Stipe Miocic by TKO, round 4.
Source: bloody