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When the big boys throw down it only takes one shot to end the night. Stipe Miocic defended his heavyweight championship for the second time with a first-round TKO win over Junior Dos Santos in less than three minutes to cap off an epic UFC 211. Miocic was stalking Dos Santos from the start of the fight, backing the Brazilian up against the fence and looking to land his heavy hands. Miocic ties Randy Couture, Andrei Arlovski, Brock Lesnar, Tim Sylvia and Cain Velasquez with title defenses.
In a true masterclass performance, Joanna Jedrzejczyk defended her strawweight championship for the fifth time, defeating Jessica Andrade by unanimous decision, 50-45, 50-44, 50-45. Jedrzejczyk got stunned twice in the first round with a pair of charging flurries from Andrade. The challenger even landed a takedown, but the champ got back up and started to put on her technique, speed and level-changing striking attack and the rest of the fight was a blowout. Jedrzejczyk landed 230 total strikes to just 94 for Andrade. The champion landed an astounding 225 significant strikes in the fight, proving her superiority. Andrade showed her toughness and heart, coming forward the entire fight despite getting roughed up.
Demian Maia had some trouble at times getting Jorge Masvidal to the mat where he is the most dangerous fighter in UFC history, but in the end he was able to land three takedowns to earn over eight minutes of ground control to eek out a split decision win, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28. Masvidal had his moments, landing some nice kicks and punches, but it wasn’t enough to thwart the suffocating grappling attacks from Maia. Dana White granted Maia a UFC welterweight title shot after the fight. Maia has now won his last seven fights in a row.
THEY SAID IT:
Demian Maia : “He came really prepared and I was really surprised. I thought it was going to be hard to deal with his standup and to maybe take him down. But, I thought that once I had him on the ground I would be able to submit him. He was really well trained and very ready for my submissions. Dana said after that I have the next title fight, so I’m really happy and I will now get ready to fight for the title. I would like to rest a little, take a couple months off and then we’ll figure out when that fight will be.”
In classic Frankie Edgar fashion, the legendary New Jersey native came out and ran right through young rising star Yair Rodriguez, bludgeoning the young Mexican’s face with brutal ground and pound for 10 minutes, forcing the doctor’s stoppage between rounds two and three to pick up the TKO victory. Edgar pushed the pace early and Rodriguez was never able to catch up. A huge mouse formed under the left eye after some serious ground and pound in the final minutes of the first round. Edgar landed 40 significant strikes to earn the finish.
THEY SAID IT:
Frankie Edgar : “It feels good. I’m used to being the dog. I like being the dog, I come in dog shape, I felt like a dog so I’m with it. They have to pump these young kids up, they’re the future, I get it, but we need to pump the breaks on him – we can start pumping him up tomorrow. I think I had a pretty good victory, I was able to stop him within the first three rounds. I’m the number two guy and Holloway or Aldo has to lose so that makes me next in line. I want to fight for titles, that’s why I got into this game.”
David Branch landed three takedowns and out-struck Krzysztof Jotko, 90-50, to earn the split decision win, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
THEY SAID IT:
David Branch : “It feels good to be back in the UFC, but I wasn’t satisfied with my performance. I would have liked to connect more with him. He was an awkward lefty; he was a lot harder to control on the ground – we planned to soften him up with the boxing and then take him down and pound him out. I wanted to make him turn his back and choke him out. It was my first fight back, on the pay-per-view portion of a big event and I was shaking some of that Octagon stuff off, but I’ll be back better and this time I wasn’t satisfied with my performance. I don’t want to be judged by that performance, I can do a whole lot better than that and I will.”
Eddie Alvarez landed an accidental knee to the head of a downed Dustin Poirier at 4:12 of the second round and “The Diamond” was unable to continue. The fight was ruled a no contest by referee Herb Dean. Before the foul, the fight was highly entertaining. Poirier had Alvarez on the brink of a finish as he unloaded punches and kicks to a stumbled Alvarez early in the second round. But Alvarez survived and came back to rock Poirier later in the round before the unfortunate stoppage.
THEY SAID IT:
Eddie Alvarez : “I was in a fist fight. I thought I had Dustin hurt and I thought he was a little tired. The first knee, I thought he was playing the game where he had his hand down. Herb (Dean) was very clear about you can’t play the game, so I hurt him with the first one, I think the second one may have been legal, but the third knee was illegal. I saw it on the prompter afterwards that it was illegal and I apologize to Dustin. Oh yeah, that’s a fight I’d love to replay. I think it’s only right for me, Dustin and the fans to run that back.”
Jason Knight and Chas Skelly engaged in a grapple showcase, specifically in the first round when the two had several highlight-reel scrambles on the mat. Knight was attacking with submissions and said after the fight he felt Skelly’s arm break in the first after a sub attempt. Skelly battled through it but in the third round he ate a nasty upper cut that ended the fight and gave Knight the win by TKO at :39 of the third round. The win makes four in a row for the rising star Jason “The Kid” Knight.
THEY SAID IT:
Jason Knight : “Jason “The Kid” Knight, baby. I’m four in a row baby. I’ve only lost one in the UFC and that was on short notice. I’m coming for everybody in that 145-pound division. I just put a TKO on Chas Skelly, a tough opponent, but I’m coming for everybody in front of me. If you’re not ready for me, you better get ready baby.”
It’s going to be tough for any fight to top this one. Chase Sherman was able to finish Rashad Coulter by knockout at 3:36 of the second round after a hellacious slugfest of a fight that had the entire American Airlines Center in explosion mode. Sherman was landing a devastating leg kick repeatedly and by the end of the first round, Coulter had to limp back to his corner. In the second round, Sherman dropped Coulter and jumped on top, but the resilient Coulter showed his toughness and heart, surviving and getting back to his feet. Coulter then landed a few monster punches as he was forced to drag one leg around the Octagon. It’s shocking he was able to generate the power he did on a few staggering punches landed to Sherman. But in the end Sherman landed the finishing blow that folded Coulter up for the finish.
THEY SAID IT:
Chase Sherman : “I wanted to pace myself a little bit more, but Rashad likes to come out and brawl. He’s finished all of his fights in the first round, so naturally he was looking for that first-round finish. I knew I was going to have to weather that first-round storm and pick my shots, but I’m a sucker for brawling too. I’ll take one to give one any day. He’s tough. I’m the same way; I don’t mind taking a punch. I hit him with several knees to the head, a couple elbows, a couple right hands, but he kept coming forward and kept pushing. He’s a really tough guy, he just needs to get use to the pace at this level of fighting.”
James Vick landed a ferocious combination with a step back left jab and a straight right hand that floored Polo Reyes before the “Texicutioner” jumped on top and landed hammer fists until the referee pulled him off. Vick scored the first round TKO win at 2:35 of the first round. Vick improves to 7-1 in the UFC and asked for the winner of the Oklahoma City main event between Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee.
THEY SAID IT:
James Vick : “One of the main differences is that I’ve been healthy this camp. No one comes in 100-percent, but I’ve had a lot of injuries in the past, but I’ve really focused on being healthy over the last couple years and that’s the difference. It would have taken the baddest person in the world to go in there and beat me in my home city. It’s amazing to get this win in my hometown. Did you hear all those people out there screaming for me? It’s amazing. This is the first time I’ve gotten to fight in Dallas since before I was in the UFC, so it is a dream come true. Hopefully a top-15 guy is next. I’m 7-1 in the UFC and I can’t get a top-15 guy to fight me. How many people do you know that are 7-1 in the UFC and aren’t ranked in the top-10?”
Cortney Casey outclassed veteran Jessica Aguilar, out-striking the American Top Team product, 154-97 en route to a unanimous decision win, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27. Aguilar landed four of five takedowns but wasn’t able to do much with any of them, as Casey kept her distance with consistent upkicks and scrambles back to her feet. While standing, Casey was able to land using her reach and speed advantage. In the third round, Casey landed 25 of her 100 significant strikes for the fight, blooding the face of Aguilar while putting the fight away.
THEY SAID IT:
Cortney Casey : “I feel a little bit of disappointment. I’m happy I got the win, but I’m a little bit disappointed in my performance. It was a good win against a great opponent. Jessica is tough as nails. She’s a pioneer in the sport for a reason and I give her all the credit she deserves, but she wanted a tune up fight, I guess they didn’t give her what she wanted. I don’t know where I fall in the rankings. I don’t really care, as long as I’m fighting I’m happy. Obviously I’d like the recognition I deserve, but at the end of the day I have a job, I’m happy, my family’s healthy so there could be worse things in life than not being ranked. As long as I get another fight or two before the end of the year I’m happy. Sean Shelby knows who to call if he needs big fights and good performances. As long as they’re in the top-10 or 15, keep giving them to me and I’ll keep knocking them down.”
Enrique Barzola landed eight takedowns over the course of 15 minutes, gaining almost six minutes of control on the ground to take home the unanimous decision win, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28. Barzola landed 102 total strikes compared to just 53 for Benitez.
THEY SAID IT:
Enrique Barzola : “I’m really happy for this win. It’s a big step in my career and I’m proud of bringing this victory to my fans and to my country. I had a lot of support from Latin American fans and I want to dedicate this win to them. Gabriel was a really tough opponent. He was well prepared, but I gave all my heart to win. Now, I’m going back home but I will be ready to put on a show for the fans again soon.”
Gadzhimurad Antigulov made quick work of Joachim Christensen in the opening fight of the evening, submitting him with a rear naked choke at just 2:21 of the very first round. Antigulov landed on a charging strike combination before shooting a takedown and then working for the finish. That marks the first win on the night for American Top Team, which has eight fighters competing on the card, including strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk and heavyweight title contender Junior Dos Santos.
THEY SAID IT:
Gadzhimurad Antigulov : “I think it’s a good sign for American Top Team that I started with a victory, I hope this means all of the rest of us will get a win as well. I will be honest with you; I didn’t have a plan to choke him out when the fight first started. I took him down; he gave me his back and I saw the opportunity to choke him out. Whatever the UFC, American Top Team and my management thinks should be next, is what I will do next.