UFC 211 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
Stipe Miocic successfully defended his UFC Heavyweight Championship for a second time Saturday, which ties the mark for most heavyweight title defenses in UFC history.
That's wild. In the company's history, no heavyweight has ever emerged with the belt after a third defense. Miocic stands on the precipice of history after dispatching of Junior dos Santos in under three minutes. But who should be opposite the cage from him?
In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk schooled Jessica Andrade. Footwork and speed saw her rack up a heavy strike total against the Brazilian. She looks to have a clear contender on the horizon, but is it the right choice?
Well, that's why we're here.
Bleacher Report takes a look at what comes next for each fighter on the UFC 211 fight card. Every winner and loser has a fight awaiting them. Curious? Sure you are. Let's get right to it and check out the matches to make following the action in Dallas.
Preliminary Fights Quick Hits
Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Joachim Christensen via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:21 of the first round
- Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Devin Clark
- Joachim Christensen vs. John Phillips
Enrique Barzola def. Gabriel Benitez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Enrique Barzola vs. Alex Enlund
- Gabriel Benitez vs. Rony Jason
Cortney Casey def. Jessica Aguilar by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Cortney Casey vs. Danielle Taylor
- Jessica Aguilar vs. Heather Clark
James Vick def. Marco Polo Reyes by TKO at 2:39 of the first round
- James Vick vs. Evan Dunham
- Marco Polo Reyes vs. Claudio Puelles
Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter by KO at 3:36 of the second round
- Chase Sherman vs. Timothy Johnson
- Rashad Coulter vs. Anthony Hamilton
Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly by TKO at 0:39 of the third round
- Jason Knight vs. Yair Rodriguez
- Chas Skelly vs. Mike De La Torre
Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier fought to a no-contest because of illegal knees at 4:12 of the second round
- Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier
- Dustin Poirier vs. Eddie Alvarez
Krzysztof Jotko vs. David Branch
David Branch def. Krzysztof Jotko by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Welcome (back) to the UFC, Mr. David Branch.
Branch's return to the UFC was triumphant, even if it lacked pizzazz. He put Krzysztof Jotko in uncomfortable positions throughout all three rounds to get by with a split decision. There wasn't much in the way of big action, but Branch did what he needed to do.
Jotko entered as the No. 9-ranked contender on the UFC's rankings, and the loss will no doubt be a big setback. Andrew Sanchez would be a prime opponent for his next outing. Sanchez is also coming off a loss. The winner gets in position for a fringe top-15 opponent.
The clock is ticking on Branch, and as such, he should jump into the lion's den—or rather, the alligator's pit. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is the proper choice. Souza may be coming off a loss, but he still carries a lot of weight in the division. It's a great matchup for both men.
Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez
Frankie Edgar def. Yair Rodriguez by TKO at 5:00 of the second round (doctor stoppage)
This matchup was all about Yair Rodriguez. Was it going to be too much too soon, or could he take the step into title contention? It turned out to be the former.
Frankie Edgar managed the distance well and stayed out of range for Rodriguez's strikes. And when the moment was right, he went classic Frankie Edgar on the youngster. Edgar caused massive swelling on Rodriguez's left eye. Then he targeted it to the tune of a stoppage between the second and third rounds.
Rodriguez should be rebuilt. This loss will be a great learning experience. However, his position in the featherweight division also allows for creative matchmaking. A fun up-and-comer is Jason Knight. Pitting those two against one another would create a fantastic bout as well as serve as a good return fight for Rodriguez.
Edgar's situation is more complicated because of his two failed bids at defeating Jose Aldo. If this were a pure sport, he would be next in line regardless. But it's not. It's part-spectacle. The outcome of the upcoming featherweight title clash between Aldo and Max Holloway will determine Edgar's positioning.
A Holloway victory should mean a title shot. If Aldo wins? Who knows. The logical choice was Cub Swanson, but his lackluster showing against unranked Artem Lobov wasn't worthy of a title shot. Give Frankie a final chance regardless. It's not a sexy pick, but it's the right one.
Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal
Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Demian Maia earned a title shot. Point blank. Simple. Easy. There's no reason to waste time with his next bout. It's Tyron Woodley.
Jorge Masvidal improved his stock yet again in spite of the loss. He was able to avoid being submitted and had offensive spurts when he was given space. Saturday's showcase against Maia proved to the world he is an elite welterweight.
The loss knocked him down a peg or two, which makes booking his next fight a little difficult. When looking at recent outings and the landscape of the division, there is little reason not to run back his truncated fight against Jake Ellenberger.
Ellenberger could possibly be cut, but if not, it's the right fight to make. Their first fight ended when Ellenberger got his foot stuck in the fence. There was not a definitive end that was satisfactory. With both men coming off a loss, and their respective styles, it's time to rebook that fight.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Jessica Andrade by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-45)
Let's start with the fallen challenger.
Andrade is only 25. The worst thing the UFC could do is to put her back in the cage against another top-five contender. Treat her like a prospect. Book her against an unranked opponent who is a stylistic advantage for her and allow her to blossom.
Amanda Cooper is the right opponent for Andrade. It's a favorable fight for the Brazilian. She should be able to focus on improving and showcasing new skills against the American. Any other non-ranked foe would be fine too.
As for the champion, most of the noise is about Rose Namajunas. Pundits will pound that into your head. But it's simply too early to anoint her as the next challenger if you favor fairness and a strong sporting element to MMA.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz will meet Claudia Gadelha at UFC 212. Gadelha has come up short twice against Jedrzejczyk. Even with a win, she won't get a title bid. That makes sense. Kowalkiewicz's last trip to the Octagon was also a failed bid to win the gold. However, it was only her first attempt, and she nearly finished the champion in the fourth round.
If Kowalkiewicz wins, she deserves the next title shot. Oh, and she holds a definitive head-to-head win over Namajunas. "Thug" Rose leaping Kowalkiewicz would be illogical, other than being a fresh title fight. The UFC has a date reserved for Poland in October. Jedrzejczyk vs. Kowalkiewicz makes too much sense and would generate a lot more local money than Namajunas.
But beating Gadelha is a tall order and far from a gimme. In fact, Kowalkiewicz's the underdog, according to OddsShark.
Let's wait until 212, UFC. Please. If Kowalkiewicz wins, give it to her. If Gadelha wins, then you can give the fight to Namajunas.
Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos
Stipe Miocic def. Junior dos Santos by TKO at 2:22 of the first round
And still. A fifth straight win for Miocic by a fifth straight knockout. The last four of which were all in the first round. He's the best in the world, and he's starting to make an argument that he's the best UFC heavyweight in history.
Dos Santos was looking great up until getting dropped. He hurt Miocic's leg badly with his low leg kicks. But another KO loss will leave him searching for answers.
Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Travis Browne is scheduled for UFC 213. Dos Santos should fight the winner of that fight. It'd give him a little time to recoup before getting back into camp, and it'd be against a ranked opponent.
Miocic has no contender waiting. He just beat JDS and Alistair Overeem. Cain Velasquez is still MIA. Fabricio Werdum has a date with Overeem at UFC 213, and a win could net him a rematch. That would be the most logical fight. It's arguable whether it's the right one.
It's a bit hypocritical considering what was said about the strawweight title picture, but without a clear-cut top contender, it allows for the UFC to put together a matchup strictly for the entertainment value. The matchup that gets the blood going the most is Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou.
Ngannou is still green, but he is a stand-up specialist. That's what Miocic loves to do. It would be a heavyweight tilt that should make marketing extremely easy. Book it for the late fall or early winter in Cleveland, Ohio. Build it around Miocic and construct an ad campaign showing the destruction of Ngannou.
It could be a King Kong vs. Godzilla kaiju promotional campaign set on Lake Erie. Two behemoth heavyweights throwing down at the Q. Please, and thank you.