mma / Columns

411’s MMA Roundtable Preview – UFC 211: Miocic vs. dos Santos 2

May 13, 2017 | Posted by Dan Plunkett

WELCOME:
The UFC heads to Dallas with a big card in tow! In the main event, Stipe Miocic defends the UFC heavyweight championship against Junior dos Santos! In the co-main event, the strawweight title is on the line when Joanna Jędrzejczyk defends against Jéssica Andrade! At welterweight, Demian Maia takes on Jorge Masvidal. Rising featherweight Yair Rodriguez looks to make a statement against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Plus, Krzysztof Jotko fights a returning Dave Branch, Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier, and more!

THE STAFF:

  • He’s 411’s Jack of All Trades, Jeffrey Harris!

  • He’ll lock you in the guillotine, Robert Winfree!

  • And your host, Dan Plunkett!

    THE PRELIMINARY CARD:
    First four prelims on UFC Fight Pass, rest on FX.
    Light Heavyweight Bout: Joachim Christensen vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov

    Jeffrey Harris: Gadzhimurad Antigulov, Decision
    Robert Winfree: Gadzhimurad Antigulov, Submission, Round 1
    <Dan Plunkett: Antigulov, Decision
    The staff picks Gadzhimurad Antigulov, 3-0.

    Featherweight Bout: Gabriel Benitez vs. Enrique Barzola

    Jeffrey Harris: Gabriel Benitez, Decision
    Robert Winfree: Gabriel Benitez, Decision
    Dan Plunkett: Barzola, Decision
    The staff picks Gabriel Benitez, 2-1.

    Heavyweight Bout: Chase Sherman vs. Rashad Coulter

    Jeffrey Harris:Chase Sherman, Decision
    Robert Winfree: Chase Sherman, TKO, Round 1
    Dan Plunkett: Sherman, Decision
    The staff picks Chase Sherman, 3-0.

    Strawweight Bout: Jessica Aguillar vs. Cortney Casey

    Jeffrey Harris: Jessica Aguillar, Submission, Round 2
    Robert Winfree: Jessica Aguillar, Decision
    Dan Plunkett: Aguillar, Decision
    The staff picks Jessica Aguillar, 3-0.

    Lightweight Bout: Marco Polo Reyes vs. James Vick

    Jeffrey Harris: James Vick, Decision
    Robert Winfree: James Vick, TKO, Round 2
    Dan Plunkett: Vick, Decision
    The staff picks James Vick, 3-0.

    Featherweight Bout: Jared Gordon vs. Michel Quinones

    Jeffrey Harris: Michel Quinones, Decision
    Robert Winfree: Jared Gordon, Decision
    Dan Plunkett: Gordon, Decision
    The staff picks Jared Gordon, 2-1.

    Featherweight Bout: Chas Skelly vs. Jason Knight

    Jeffrey Harris: Chas Skelly, Submission, Round 2
    Robert Winfree: Jason Knight, Decision
    Dan Plunkett: Skelly, Decision
    The staff picks Chas Skelly, 2-1.

    Lightweight Bout: Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier

    Jeffrey Harris: Eddie Alvarez, TKO, Round 2
    Robert Winfree: Eddie Alvarez, Decision
    Dan Plunkett: Alvarez, Decision
    The staff picks Eddie Alvarez, 3-0.


    THE MAIN CARD:
    Middleweight Bout: Krzysztof Jotko vs. Dave Branch

    Jeffrey Harris: Dave Branch gets another shot at the UFC after doing quite well in recent years outside of the Octagon. He was cut from the UFC. However, after joining the WSOF roster, he pulled off significant wins over Paulo Filho, Jesse Taylor, and former UFC title contender Yushin Okami. He became a two-weight class champion in the WSOF as well, winning the organization’s middleweight and light heavyweight titles. He’s currently on a 10-fight winning streak. His only career losses are to Gerald Harris and Rousimar Palhares in the UFC, and then he later dropped a loss to former UFC title contender Anthony Johnson in Titan FC. The point is that Dave Branch has more than earned another shot in the UFC, and he gets a big opportunity fighting a legit top 10-ranked middleweight in Krzysztof Jotko. Sometimes fighters do a lot better without the pressure and bright lights of the UFC. There is something to be said for being a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Say what you will about Jotko, but the man has gotten results. He currently boasts a five-fight winning streak at middleweight, and he’s 6-1 overall. His recent wins include Tamdan McCrory and standout middleweight Thales Leites. If Branch wins here, he can immediately assert himself into the top 10 of the middleweight rankings in the UFC, which is ideally where he wants to be for a fresh start. However, I see Branch not being able to go the distance for his UFC return. Some guys just can’t make those adjustments at a higher level.

    Winner: Krzysztof Jotko, Decision

    Robert Winfree: It’s nice to see Dave Branch back in the UFC, he had a rough go of it the first time but was also very young in his career at the time. Now he’s only lost once since leaving the UFC, to Anthony Johnson, and brings both a massive winning streak and solid overall game into the cage. Branch’s bread and butter is still his grappling but he’s evolved into a solid all around fighter. Krzysztof Jotko has been on the rise lately, he’s a very technical striker with good power and he’s coming off of a big win over Thales Leites where he showed off improved defensive grappling. While Branch has slightly better takedowns than Leites, Leites still relies on clinching up for trips or ill advised long shots into attempts to pull guard, he’s still contending with a younger and harder hitting opponent and I tend to think Jotko continues rising up the crowded middleweight ranks.

    Winner: Krzysztof Jotko, Decision

    Dan Plunkett: Branch is a very solid fighter, particularly on the ground, but I think Jotko keeps him at bay on the feet and takes a decision.

    Winner: Krzysztof Jotko, Decision

    The staff picks Krzysztof Jotko, 3-0.


    Featherweight Bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez

    Jeffrey Harris: This is the type of test we’ve been needing to see for Yair Rodriguez. He hasn’t faced a fighter at Frankie Edgar’s level yet, or faced someone with Edgar’s wrestling abilities. That alone makes this match-up very interesting. Yair Rodriguez has incredible quickness. However, if he hopes to beat Edgar, he can’t just go spamming strikes willy nilly and leave lots of openings. Obviously, UFC wants to test Rodriguez against a big name and potentially send him further up the ranks, but I don’t see that happening here. I think this is an exam that Rodriguez is not going to pass.

    Winner: Frankie Edgar, Decision

    Robert Winfree: While Yair Rodriguez has proven himself a dynamic prospect, I feel this is a bridge too far for his abilities. Frankie Edgar has seen and done it all, a lot of the crazier techniques Rodriguez tries to use likely wont phase him and he can push a significant pace. Edgar is just good everywhere, while Rodriguez only seems effective when he’s on the offensive going forward and he’s yet to face a wrestler of Edgar’s caliber. Edgar has a lot of miles on him and if this happens to be the point where that starts catching up with him and Rodriguez can settle down his offense he might sneak a split decision here, but on the whole Edgar is too consistent for me to pick against him here.

    Winner: Frankie Edgar, Decision

    Dan Plunkett: Rodriguez is a very exciting fighter. He’s fast, athletic, and a very dynamic striker. However, he is only 24 with room to grow. Edgar, 35, is gritty, tough, and still one of the best featherweights in the game. He wins this fight on the ground.

    Winner: Edgar, Decision

    The staff picks Frankie Edgar, 3-0.


    Welterweight Bout: Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal

    Jeffrey Harris: If I potentially eat crow here, so be it. Like I said on the 411 Ground & Pound Radio podcast, I’m going all in on Demian Maia for this fight. Jorge Masvidal is a very dangerous and devastating striker. However, he also tends to lack consistency in multiple weight classes. Granted, he’s looked good lately with his destructions of Donald Cerrone and Jake Ellenberger. However, he’s never faced someone who has the grappling credentials of Demian Maia. Maia has knocked off contender and contender. He’s been matched up against dangerous strikers before at welterweight like Carlos Condit, and Maia submitted him. I think the only way Maia loses here is if he jumps right into a knockout punch from Masvidal like he did against Nate Marquardt. Maia wins by submission.

    Winner: Demian Maia, Submission, Round 1

    Robert Winfree: Demian Maia should win this fight. Maia has refined his game to near perfection, he excels at forcing his opponent back towards the cage, getting close on a single leg attempt, and either finishing the takedown or pulling guard then sweeping from essentially the same single leg position. From there his passing is excellent and he floats over his opponent en route to back taking and then submissions. I can’t stress enough the great study on Maia’s game that BJJ Scout did on Youtube, look it up if you’ve got the time. That said, Jorge Masvidal is a really really good fighter. He hits hard, knows how to strike properly, and has a strong wrestling game of his own. Masvidal’s weakness has been consistency and his offensive output, both of which have cost him close decisions in the past. He seems to have gotten over that particular hurdle, but even at his best Maia is a stiff test. Masvidal has to keep his back off of the fence, in fact if he could take the center of the cage that would be great because Maia struggles a bit with open space takedowns and in a striking contest Masvidal is likely the better. I’m going with Maia here, and will pick him to take the belt if he finally gets that shot, but I’m not counting out Masvidal.

    Winner: Demian Maia, Submission, Round 1

    Dan Plunkett: Ultimately, this fight comes down to space. If Jorge Masvidal can keep his distance from Demian Maia, he’s going to have a big night. Unfortunately for him, Maia is tremendous as closing the distance, getting ahold of opponents, and controlling them. I think Maia wears Masvidal down and submits him.

    Winner: Maia, Submission, Round 2

    The staff picks Demian Maia, 3-0.


    UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship Bout: Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Jéssica Andrade

    Jeffrey Harris: Jessica Andrade is quite possibly one of the more dangerous matchups Joanna Champion has faced in her title run. Andrade is well-rounded, and she is very physically powerful. She’s got knockout power and strong grappling. However, a lot of good grapplers have failed to assert their game on Joanna Champion before. I like this fight a lot. However, Joanna Champion is incredibly resilient and always comes through and finds a way to win. She has tremendous combinations and some of the best kickboxing in the UFC. I see this being a competitive fight, but Joanna Champion edges it out and wins the day.

    Winner: Joanna Champion, Decision

    Robert Winfree: There is a high potential for violence in this bout. Jessica Andrade is a bit of a tank, she moves forward and has powerful hooks to the body and head especially if she can get her opponent against the fence. Andrade also has good takedowns and solid ground and pound, unlike the other grapplers Joanna has faced Andrade won’t be trying to hold her down she’ll be content to land meaningful offense as the champion fights to wall walk. There are a couple of bad habits for Andrade to exploit, Joanna has a bad habit of getting her back on the fence when pressured quickly and until she really finds the rhythm and distance she can be caught measuring. That said there are a couple of notable holes in Andrade’s game as well. Andrade hangs out at range too much looking to time a rush into closed distance and she’s a tad heavy on her lead leg. Angela Hill kept Andrade at bay for long periods of their fight with low kicks, a stiff jab, and the occasional intercepting knee or elbow as Andrade tried to bum rush into the pocket. Joanna is a skilled enough striker to pick up on those habits, she should circle constantly, use low kicks and intercepting knees to the body when Andrade tries to bum rush, and wear her down as the fight goes longer. The real danger zone for Joanna is the pocket along the fence, she has to keep her back off of the fence and avoid getting into a wild brawl. I tend to think that Joanna works a smart gameplan and wears down Andrade, she might even get a finish later if Andrade gasses hard enough. That said, Andrade has a skill set that could exploit some issues that Joanna has had, so count her out at your own peril.

    Winner: Joanna Jedrzejczyk, TKO, Round 5

    Dan Plunkett: Great fight. Andrade is a threat on the feet to most in the division with significant power, but Joanna should be comfortable on the feet. Joanna is technically better and has a serious size advantage to enjoy. However, on the mat, things change. Andrade is a handful on top; she’s powerful, difficult to maneuver, and can do damage with ground and pound. I think we’ll see a very stern test for Joanna on the mat, but while I had been leaning toward Andrade, I find it very hard to pick against someone with Joanna’s track record without a great reason. Therefore…

    Winner: Joanna, Decision

    The staff picks Joanna Jędrzejczyk, 3-0.


    UFC Heavyweight Championship Bout: Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos

    Jeffrey Harris: I’m glad we are getting this rematch for the heavyweight title. These two had a very tough, close and competitive fight the first time around, and it was one Junior dos Santos edged out via decision. Both of these men are two of the better conditioned athletes at heavyweight. Both men actually have very good technical boxing. Both men have knockout power as well. However, Stipe Miocic also has some good wrestling skills to go with his boxing. His conditioning has gotten continuously better as well. I see this fight being a war of attrition, but this time around, I see Stipe Miocic getting the better of the exchanges. Dos Santos looked a lot better in his last fight against Ben Rothwell, but I’ve been concerned how hittable he’s been in the last several years. That’s something I see Miocic exploiting for their rematch.

    Winner: Stipe Miocic, TKO, Round 4

    Robert Winfree: These two had a great fight the first time around, one of the better heavyweight fights in UFC history, where dos Santos edged a decision while Miocic proved he could hang with the big dogs. Miocic exploited dos Santos’ tendency to back all the way into the fence before circling in their first fight, it’s been an issue for most of his career really, but he showed a much better grasp of his footwork and cage awareness in his fight with Ben Rothwell, though Rothwell is no where near the caliber of ring general that Miocic is. Miocic has improved since that fight with dos Santos while dos Santos has added more miles and damage to his body. Miocic would be well served to add some low kicks to his game for this fight, dos Santos steps hard with his jab to the body and is very vulnerable to that technique, while dos Santos could add some kicks of his own. Both men are hittable, but I feel dos Santos is just a bit too worn down at this point. This is still heavyweight and crazy things happen, dos Santos packs fight changing power and shouldn’t be counted out, but if this gets out of the first I like his chances less and less against the improved Miocic.

    Winner: Stipe Miocic, TKO, Round 3

    Dan Plunkett: Their first fight was a five-round heavyweight classic, and we can only hope for something close to that this time around. Two-and-a-half years ago, they had a razor close fight that I thought Miocic edged, but dos Santos won the scorecards that matter. After that fight, Miocic stopped his next four opponents, while dos Santos has gone just 1-1. I suspect the 33-year-old dos Santos, who is much older than that in fighting years, has great fights left in him. However, comparing the two career trajectories since that close first meeting, Miocic must be favored.

    Winner: Stipe Miocic, TKO, Round 4

    The staff picks Stipe Miocic, 3-0.


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