UFC 211 tips: Our best bets as Miocic and dos Santos battle for the belt
We make our picks for a stacked card as the two top heavyweights go toe-to-toe in Texas...
Stipe Miocic v Junior dos Santos
Saturday’s main event is a rematch of a real classic heavyweight fight from 2014, which dos Santos won by unanimous decision.
Since then, the Brazilian has been worryingly inactive. He was knocked out by Alistair Overeem in his next bout, and then beat Ben Rothwell on points to set up this title shot.
Miocic, meanwhile, has won four out of four since losing to dos Santos – all by knockout – and picked up the belt in the process.
The American was on top in the first fight, but after pushing the pace so heavily early on, he grew fatigued and was picked apart.
Miocic is a much more intelligent boxer now, though, and is still the superior wrestler.
Dos Santos is a fast, accurate striker from range, but if he gets trapped against the cage – as he did in his last three defeats – he'll be in trouble.
Back Miocic to extend his streak with another win ( ) and knockout ( ).
Joanna Jedrzejczyk v Jessica Andrade
Strawweight champion Jedrzejczyk is arguably the best pound-for-pound striker in the entire UFC.
The 29-year-old is a devastating Muay Thai fighter, and is undefeated in her 13 professional MMA fights.
Andrade represents a real test for the champion. Since moving to this division, the Brazilian is unbeaten with three impressive victories.
She possesses tremendous punching power and is an excellent wrestler, too.
It's hard to see her overcoming a three-inch reach disadvantage here, though, even if she comes out quickly and wins the opening couple of rounds.
Jedrzejczyk should be able to pick Andrade off at range, and while the challenger has never gone beyond three rounds, Jedrzejczyk’s last three have all gone to the fifth.
Back the Pole to successfully defend her title for a fifth time at , and to win on points at .
Demian Maia v Jorge Masvidal
In this match-up of striker versus wrestler, expect Maia to grapple his way to a welterweight title shot.
The 39-year-old has won six successive fights since losing to Rory McDonald at UFC 170, submitting Neil Magny, Matt Brown and Carlos Condit during that run.
Masvidal is a good boxer and he took Donald Cerrone apart in his last fight.
But Maia is a takedown machine, and should be able to repeatedly take this bout to the mat, where he does his damage.
Don’t expect an early finish, though. Masvidal last lost by submission eight years ago, and should be able to go the distance here.
Back Maia to win ( ), and to win by decision ( )
Frankie Edgar v Yair Rodriguez
Rising star Rodriguez could earn the biggest win of his career this weekend by beating a former lightweight champion.
The Mexican has only lost once in his 11-fight MMA career, winning eight in a row in a run that dates back to 2013.
Edgar has lost five times in his career, although Jose Aldo and Benson Henderson are the only fighters to beat him since 2008.
At the age of 35, though, it is valid to ask how much he has left, and the speedier, trickier Rodriguez should have the edge here.
Back him to win at .
Eddie Alvarez v Dustin Poirier
This is Alvarez’s first fight since he was knocked out by Conor McGregor.
There’s no shame in losing to perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, but that defeat did reveal just how much Alvarez can struggle against a top boxer.
Poirier – a fine striker who has won three of his last six fights by knockout – will cause him problems.
Like McGregor, the 28-year-old has heavy hands and will look to press Alvarez from the start.
Given that three of Alvarez’s last four wins have come by split decision, it’s hard to trust him to come through decisively here.
Back Poirier to win at .