The UFC returns to Dallas, Texas, for the fourth time on Saturday for UFC211 in what is easily the best card of the year so far – a sentiment backed up by Dana himself. In fact, we probably have enough top talent on this card to cover two PPV events.
Two belts are up for grabs as Stipe Miocic puts his heavyweight title on the line against the last mean to defeat him, Junior dos Santos, in the main event of the evening. The co-main event sees Polish mega star Joanna Jędrzejczyk attempt to defend her strawweight title for the fifth time and extend her unbeaten record to 14-0 against the extremely dangerous Jessica Andrade. We also have Damian Maia, Frankie Edgar, Eddie Alvarez, Yair Rodriguez and Dustin Poirier all on show.
For this instalment of the Writer vs. the Fighter, Chris ‘The Bad Guy’ Bungard (9-3) gives MMA writer Tom Heffernan his picks for some of the more anticipated bouts from Saturday’s card.
Chris is coming off a win against fellow countryman Iain Feenan at ACB54 in Manchester back in March and is now preparing to face Enrico Manicaro in the main event at Headhunters Fighting championship on June 3rd.
Here are our picks:
Heavyweight championship: Stipe Miocic (c) vs Junior dos Santos
Chris: Even though Cigano has beat Stipe before, I don’t think he will win this one. Stipe has got better and better every fight since that last defeat. So, Stipe to retain belt via decision or a finish in the latter rounds.
Tom: Stipe has looked absolutely unstoppable in the four fights since losing to dos Santos back in 2014; Hunt, Arlovski, Werdum and Overeem have all been smashed by the Champ and the scary thing is he has looked better in each fight. That said, I think the dos Santos gives Stipe problems as he the stand up game to live with Stipe. It will be another tight fight and I see both men tasting the canvas at some point, but I expect Stipe to retain the belt by TKO in the fourth.
Straweight championship: Joanne Jędrzejczyk (c) vs. Jéssica Andrade
Chris: I don’t see any female ever beating Joanna at that weight class. She’s a savage. Champ retains title.
Tom: When Andrade decided to move to strawweight I had a gut feeling that she would be the fighter to end JJ’s reign at 115lbs. But Chris is correct, Joanna is an absolute savage – no doubt a future hall of fame fighter – but I think Andrade might be too powerful for her in terms of grappling. I actually expect this to be over fairly quickly and I predict a submission finish for Andrade – despite you all thinking I’m nuts.
Welterweight: Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal
Chris: Another amazing match up its pretty simple I think if Maia gets it to the ground early he gets the sub but Masvidal is tough as shit and has power. Masvidal via decision for me.
Tom: Masvidal is a hard man to finish and the way hea beat Cerrone was probably a career high. But Damian Mia is a different animal entirely; he is on a six fight win streak and seems to be in his element at welterweight. Michael Bisping said recently that Mia will roll Masvidal up like a cigar, and I agree. It’s hard to find someone with Mia’s grappling pedigree and now that he has improved his stand up it’s hard to see past him in this fight. Mia via submission in round 3.
Featherweight: Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodríguez
Chris: It’s hard to bet against Frankie Edgar but Yair is something special. FOTN for me but I’m going for Yair. The new breed kicks Edgar about the cage for 15 minutes but Frankie will be there till the end.
Tom: This fight promises to be a barnstormer. Frankie is one of the toughest guys to ever compete in the Octagon and despite losing on 5 occasions throughout his career, it was only to the best of the best, plus, he has never been stopped. Rodriguez is one of the most exciting fighters on the roster with those Van Damme kicks always sure to get the fans juices flowing. Yair dismantled BJ Penn in his last outing, but BJ is long past his best. Yair hasn’t fought the calibre of Frankie yet so this fight will show if he is still a work in progress or the next super star. I will join th hype train and predict Yair to give Frankie his first stoppage in the L column.
Lightweight: Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirer
Chris: Even though Conor dismantled Eddie I think he goes back to what he’s good at and grinds out Dustin.
Tom: Dustin has went 5-1 since his return to lightweight and is looking really confident in that division. I like this contest, both men will want to finish this fight and in style. Dustin looking for a future title shot and Eddie will want to take out all his frustrations from the loss to McGregor. I expect a super motivated Alvarez and that will prove too much for Dustin. Eddie via TKO in the 2nd round.
Chris: Miocic, Jędrzejczyk, Masvidal, Rodriguez and Alvarez
Tom: Miocic, Andrade, Maia, Rodriguez and Alvarez