After months of anticipation, UFC 211 took center stage in Dallas with two title bouts that didn’t disappoint.
Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic made history Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at the American Airlines Center. After taking some early leg kicks from challenger Junior Dos Santos, Miocic went on the offensive, landing some hard hits to the head that dropped Dos Santos. The follow-up blows would then end the fight at the 2:22 mark, giving Miocic the win in the first round. Miocic ties a UFC record with his second heavyweight title defense and is 5-0 with five knockouts since his 2014 loss to Dos Santos. No heavyweight champion has won three straight title defenses.
“I really don’t care,” said Miocic. “I mean, yeah, if I keep winning, I’ll break history. Big deal. I’m just going to keep winning. I like winning. It’s fun. I like being called champ, especially.”
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As for Dos Santos, the failed title bid for the former heavyweight champ didn’t work out as planned. His powerful kicks early on in the fight had him tasting victory before everything fell apart.
“After the third kick, I felt happy in my heart,” said Dos Santos. “I said, ‘Man, it’s working; I’m going to win.’ Heavyweights, man. I’m sad, of course. I’d like to win this. I’d like to become the champion again. But if I’m not the champion, I’m glad this guy is the champion. He’s a really nice guy. I still think the same. He deserves that.”
The other co-headliner of the night featured Joanna Jedrzejczyk defending her strawweight championship against Jessica Andrade. The American Airlines Center holds some special moments for Jedrzejczyk, the site where she won title at UFC 185 in 2015. Chants of “Joanna” would resonate throughout the arena during the fight.
Andrade landed a hard left hook in the opening round that caused a lump on Jedrzejczyk’s forehead. However, that was all the damage afflicted to the champ as Jedrzejczyk would put on a striking clinic and retain the title by unanimous decision.
“I heard that Jessica was going to be the one to beat me and take my belt away from me,” said Jedrzejczyk. “They said that she was my biggest challenge, but I think there are more girls that are tougher than her. She’s very powerful, you can see my face, I have a few bruises and she had a few punches that were very strong. I’m not a fighter, I’m a champion.”
It was the fifth straight successful title defense for Jedrzejczyk, who remains perfect at 14-0.
The prelims brought some Texas Connect Us flavor to the card. Mineral Wells native James Vick unleashed a brutal combo then ended with a TKO over Polo Reyes.
“It’s amazing to get this win in my hometown,” said Vick. “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.”
Afterwards Vick called out the winner of next month’s fight between Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee. There’s no love lost between Chiesa and Lee as they got into a scuffle during the UFC Summer Kickoff Announcement on Friday in Dallas.
In the heavyweight division, Dallas native Rashad Coulter didn’t have the homecoming result he would have liked against Chase Sherman. Coulter took some serious shots to the legs and shins in the first round. He was able to fight back with the crowd behind him in what turned out to be a wild fight but the legs eventually gave out and Sherman finished things off with the TKO in the second round.
Another wild fight took place afterwards between Azle’s Chas Skelley and Jason Knight. Both fighters put on a wrestling display early on with attempts at submission moves before Knight caught Skelly with an uppercut in the third round and finished things off for the TKO.
The closing fight in the prelims between third-ranked Eddie Alvarez and ninth-ranked Dustin Poirier came with some controversy after the bout ended in a no-contest. Alvarez mounted a comeback just enough to hit a floored Poirier with an illegal knee.
“The first knee, I thought he was playing the game where he had his hand down,” said Alvarez. “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.”
UFC president Dana White said his old business partner, Lorenzo Fertitta, called him afterwards and said UFC needs instant replay because the call was wrong.
White’s attention now turns to fight between Floyd Mayweather and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. He said he expects to have a deal finalized with McGregor on Sunday before moving on to work with the Mayweather camp.
UFC 211 Results:
Stipe Miocic (c) def. Junior dos Santos via first-round TKO
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (c) def. Jessica Andrade via unanimous decision
Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal via split decision
Frankie Edgar def. Yair Rodriguez via second-round TKO (doctor's stoppage)
David Branch def. Krzysztof Jotko via split decision
Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier declared a no-contest (accidental foul)
Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly via third-round TKO
Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter via second-round TKO
James Vick def. Marco Polo Reyes via first-round TKO
Cortney Casey def. Jessica Aguilar via unanimous decision
Enrique Barzola def. Gabriel Benitez via unanimous decision
Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Joachim Christensen via submission