The biggest and best UFC card of 2017 hits when the Octagon sets up shop in American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas for UFC 211. The card is highlighted by two title fights with Stipe Miocic and Joanna Jedrzejczyk aiming to defend their championships against a pair of Brazilian challengers in Junior dos Santos and Jessica Andrade.
Stipe Miocic (-140) isn’t the flashiest fighter in the division but is one of the most technically sound and athletic heavyweights in the world. Miocic’s game is built around a great boxing game that capitalizes on his experience in that sport. He will constantly probe with a long jab and does some amazing work while countering. There may not be a better fighter in the division in terms of throwing power in a phone booth, as Miocic seems to have an abnormal amount of power when his strikes are thrown in confined spaces.
Once on the mat, Miocic isn’t exactly a world-beater. On top, he is heavy and will throw a constant stream of strikes. Seeing as he only rarely gets taken down – the last time was his first fight with dos Santos.
Junior dos Santos (+110) is a powerful marvel who fights in a straight line. The former UFC heavyweight champion has some of the hardest hands in the division and that is paired with some of the best hand speed for the big guys. Over time, “Cigano” has added more strikes to his repertoire but he is still mainly a boxer. Dos Santos likes to walk down his opponent and trap them, so he can then unleash a flurry of punches that is near impossible to escape.
Two years ago, Stipe Miocic came in as high as a plus-300 (risking $100 to win $300) underdog against Junior dos Santos, who was a minus-400 (risking $400 to win $100), and many felt he pulled off the upset. The judges weren’t among that group.
Dos Santos officially edged Miocic by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47). Miocic, now heavyweight champion, has the shot to avenge his last loss tonight in the main event of UFC 211 in Dallas.
Miocic will enter the rematch as the favorite, currently sitting at odds of minus-130 with dos Santos coming back at plus-110.
Nearly five years have passed since dos Santos held the title. He’s alternated wins and losses ever since, but got elevated to a title shot with injuries and other factors bottlenecking the heavyweight division.
Since losing to dos Santos, Miocic has reeled off four straight knockout victories to overtake the heavyweight crown. The last three have all come in the first round, including a top-contender bout against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195 and a title-fight win against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198. If you haven’t already sign up at Heritagesports make your predictions for the best bet on UFC 211.