Stipe Miocic has firm control over his surroundings.
The Strong Style Fight Team cornerstone avenged one of his two career defeats and knifed through Junior dos Santos to retain the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title in the UFC 211 headliner on Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Miocic (17-2) finished it 2:22 into Round 1, extending his winning streak to five fights.
Dos Santos (18-5) enjoyed some early success with a series of kicks to the champion’s lower leg. Though he did so with a limp, Miocic shrugged off the damage, backed the Brazilian to the fence and let his heavy hands do the rest. The 34-year-old Euclid, Ohio, native sent dos Santos crashing to the canvas with a clubbing right hand and picked his bones with follow-up ground strikes, prompting referee Herb Dean to act.
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Unbeaten Jedrzejczyk Still Queen at 115
Joanna Jedrzejczyk pitched another mesmerizing shutout, as she retained the UFC women’s strawweight championship with a clear-cut unanimous decision over Jessica Andrade in the co-main event. Jedrzejczyk (14-0) swept the scorecards with 50-45, 50-44 and 50-45 marks from the judges.
Andrade (16-6) had the will but not the means with which to dethrone the champion. Jedrzejczyk developed a hematoma on her forehead in the first round but made certain virtually everything else went her way. She utilized a punishing jab, attacked the challenger’s base with kicks to the lower leg and mixed in blinding punching combinations to the body and head, drawing her further down the rabbit hole with each passing minute. Even when Andrade closed the distance and clinched with the American Top Team superstar, she was met with knees to the body and short standing elbows. The outcome was never in doubt.
The defeat snapped a three-fight winning streak for Andrade.
Maia Outlasts Masvidal, Eyes Elusive Title Shot
Demian Maia took what appears to be his final step toward a shot at the UFC welterweight crown with a split decision over American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal in a featured clash at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Sal D’Amato and Jeff Mullen for Maia, Aladin Martinez for Masvidal.
Bookend rounds paved Maia’s way to victory. The 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist worked into advantageous positions in the first and third rounds, where he advanced to the back, peppered Masvidal (32-12) with strikes and searched in vain for a choke. It helped offset a rough middle stanza, as Maia (25-6) was on the receiving end of kicks to the head, body and legs from the man they call “Gamebred.”
Maia, 39, has recorded seven consecutive wins.
Edgar Bludgeons Overmatched Rodriguez
Frankie Edgar gave Yair Rodriguez the big brother treatment, as he was awarded a technical knockout against “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” in a featherweight showcase. The end came in between the second and third rounds, with Rodriguez (10-2) unfit to continue.
Edgar (22-5-1) did not fool around. The Toms River, New Jersey, native executed a takedown inside the first 90 seconds and pounded on the prospect with punches, forearm strikes and elbows for more than three minutes. When the first five minutes was up, Rodriguez rose to his feet and the damage became apparent for all to see. His left eye was nearly swollen shut. Edgar struck for another takedown early in Round 2, dodged an attempted kneebar, achieved full mount and then settled in top position. Rodriguez absorbed more punishment courtesy of targeted elbows and punches. After the round concluded, the cageside physician examined the 24-year-old and recommended the fight be stopped.
Edgar has won seven of his past eight bouts.
Returning Branch Edges Jotko
Former two-division World Series of Fighting champion David Branch made a triumphant return to the Octagon, as he eked out a split decision over Krzysztof Jotko in a three-round middleweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Jeff Mullen and Aladin Martinez for Branch, Sal D’Amato for Jotko.
Neither man did much to separate himself from the other. Branch (21-3) struck for takedowns in the first and third rounds but did little to consolidate them with meaningful ground-and-pound or positional control. The pace slowed to a crawl at times. Jotko (19-2) landed a spinning back elbow and walked Branch to a few left hands in the second round but struggled to get out of neutral, his momentum often cut off by the American’s commitment to the grind.
Branch, 35, has won 11 fights in a row.