mma / Columns

Why UFC 211 Is Worth Talking About

May 12, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert

While some are rejoicing over the news that Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping is no longer happening. And others are rolling their eyes as Anderson Silva gets mistreated. And a select few are still listening to Dana White as he talks about a Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight that’s never going to happen. There’s a hell of a fight card on Saturday night.

UFC 211 features two title bouts, a likely #1 contender’s bout, a potential changing of the guard fight, and just a fun lightweight scrap.

Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier battle on the prelims because FX needs a halfway decent fight to promote. It’s a main event on any Fox Sports 1 card and it’s a shame that it isn’t five rounds. Alvarez is looking to bounce back from a pretty humiliating loss to McGregor at UFC 205 while Poirier hopes to secure the biggest win of his career.

Neither guy is afraid to stand in the center of the Octagon and throw hands. Alvarez is the more polished boxer, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired. They’re both good grapplers, but just from the top position. In a way, these guys are the “Spider-Man points at Spider-Man” meme. Except Poirier’s tattoos are far worse.

Just sit back and enjoy the free violence you’re going to get between these two.

After murdering BJ Penn, Yair Rodriguez is back to potentially kill another lighter weight legend. Except this legend is still a really good, and motivated fighter. Basically, he’s not BJ Penn. Frankie Edgar is one of the best featherweights on the planet, but he’s not as good as Jose Aldo, so people just assume that he sucks. Don’t be one of those people who assumes that.

Edgar might be a stylistic nightmare for Rodriguez, whose flashy striking and limited grappling might get him in trouble against the hard-working Edgar. Rodriguez’ grappling and gas tank didn’t look great against Alex Caceres, and if it hasn’t improved, he’ll be in deep trouble against Edgar. Frankie has never been knocked out, but he’s taken plenty of shots on the chin, and it’s bound to crack sooner or later. Rodriguez has the flash and power to end Frankie’s night, but he has to hit him first. Despite a flawless performance against Penn, Rodriguez didn’t prove a whole lot. He beat a washed BJ Penn. Any decent fighter was going to beat Penn on that night.

Edgar still has something in the tank and he’s looking for one last shot at the title before he has to hang it up. Meanwhile, Rodriguez is looking to usher in a new era of the featherweight division.

Demian Maia should probably be fighting for the welterweight title this summer. Instead, he’s risking that against the dangerous Jorge Masvidal. Maia submitted Carlos Condit in less than two-minutes last August while Masvidal is coming off a victory over Donald Cerrone.

This is your fun “striker vs. grapplermatch-up. Masvidal wants to remain standing to test Maia’s less than ideal striking and defense while Maia wants the fight on the ground. Masvidal’s ground game isn’t bad, but Maia makes everyone look amateur by comparison.

There’s no secrets in this fight. If it stays standing, Masvidal is taking an easy decision or knocking out Maia. If it hits the ground, Maia is taking an easy decision or submitting Masvidal. It’s for me to not root for “that jiu-jitsu” kid in this one.

In the first title fight, Joanna Jedrzejczyk battles Jessica Andrade. Women’s fights are typically toss-ups. I never feel confident picking between two female fighters because none of them are very trustworthy in their skills. The two exceptions are Cris ‘Cyborg’ and Jedrzejczyk.

Jedrzejczyk is one of the best offensive strikers, male or female, in the world. She doesn’t throw just one strike. It’s always an overwhelming combination that has her opponent second-guessing everything. Defensively, she has some holes, but MMA favors the aggressive offensive fighter. Jedrzejczyk has perfected that role.

Jedrzejczyk is a better striker than Andrade, but Andrade has power and Joanna has been prone to getting knocked down. The question becomes Andrade’s cardio. She cuts a lot of weight and she’s going to be attacked for 25 straight minutes by a champion who doesn’t slow. If Andrade can keep up, she might land enough power strikes to sway the judges. But if she slows, Jedrzejczyk will use her as target practice.

In the main event, Stipe Miocic defends the heavyweight title against the last man to defeat him, Junior dos Santos.

It’s a heavyweight fight between two guys known for the power. Conventional wisdom says someone is getting slept. Even thought JDS hasn’t recorded a knockout since 2013, he hasn’t lost his power and in his last fight, he regained his speed while adding fight IQ. Even though Miocic is the champion, I’ve never been sold on him. He’s aggressive and he hits hard, but there isn’t a whole lot of substance to his game. It works because he’s in the heavyweight division.

Their first fight was a 25-minute war where neither guy gave an inch. JDS proved to be more durable, but that fight, along with the two Cain Velasquez fights and a bout against Alistair Overeem, have taken a lot off of the challenger. If JDS shows the footwork and awareness that he showed against Ben Rothwell, he takes this fight easily. But if he gets caught up in a firefight, you’re better off flipping a coin.

There are five intriguing and meaningful fights this Saturday. Nowadays, this type of card is usually reserved for milestone events. Instead, we’re getting what could be the best card of the year on a random night in May.

And all anyone wants to talk about is Dana White not talking about this card.

Let’s be friends on twitter @jeremylambert88

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UFC 211, Jeremy Lambert