UFC 211 — To Be in Limbo

UFC 211: Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2

Lately, whenever I’ve written about the UFC, I get a sense of urgency, but not outright fun. UFC 211 has made me confront these feelings because of how much in limbo the company seems to be at the moment, as well as many of those who competed in this event. I’m not one to talk bad about anything related to pro wrestling (other than those in it who are named Vince), but maybe I’m starting to change my mind when it comes to pro wrestling-style promotion of combat sports.

Perhaps it was the wrong time to get into writing about combat sports as it didn’t have the same thrill and excitement as it used to be when I would post shitty reviews of UFCs on my Multiply and Blogspot, both of which no longer exist. I remember writing about UFC 80, and I had such a blast, even when I didn’t get any money for it.

Maybe I should regret not having gotten into writing about combat sports at a professional capacity. Alas, the same can be said about writing in general when I was still a college freshman—I never knew enough to jump on it when I still could. Maybe having been away from it for too long has dampened my enthusiasm for its current participants.

See what UFC 211 has made me do? It made me pour these feelings of inadequacy and regret on this blog post because of what has been going on with the UFC at the moment. It has gotten so casual-friendly that the only fighters who get to prosper are those who stoop to trashtalking, even when MMA is supposed to be all about skill and hard work.

It’s true that the fighters must make themselves marketable, but most of that is supposed to be the promotion’s job and not just theirs. Training and maintaining a winning mindset is already a 24/7 job, so of course these fighters who are trying to make themselves more visible by talking over each other are doing so with varying degrees of success.

Meanwhile, their performances and reputations subsequently suffer. Am I wrong for thinking this? Is it just me? I’ll have to get my head around this and figure out what I’m really trying to say in the near future. I’ll let you know once I do work it out.

UFC 211 Main Card

Stipe Miocic vs. Junior Dos Santos

The rematch here in UFC 211 was even more convincing. There’s no denying it now—Stipe Miocic is pretty damn good.

Stipe Miocic is further cementing his place in the heavyweight division. All he needs to beat now is Cain Velasquez at 100% (who may never be again) to become a truly undisputed UFC heavyweight champion since that’s the only blank left. (After all, Brock Lesnar is not fighting ever again in the UFC, especially after that PED debacle after UFC 200. Even with Cain rubbing him out, it’d be nice if Stipe can do the same.)

Knocking out Junior Dos Santos in the first round is one hell of an exclamation point. This is after JDS talked about boxing Anthony Joshua, so that certainly makes him look like an ass. While being a multiple-time title challenger and a former champion is a feat in itself, that just makes him look like he’s unable to get back to his former peak.

That’s just too bad because I still like JDS. However, unless he can lose a lot of weight to get down to light heavyweight, he’s now stuck. He’ll be joining Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt in the role of gatekeeper. If Roy and Mark are mid-level gatekeepers, JDS is Goro in Mortal Kombat—a sub-boss. I hope he can prove me wrong, but it won’t be too soon.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade

She has the women’s strawweight division on lockdown at this point. UFC better put up that women’s flyweight division so she can move up and try to dominate that too and become a two-division champion. After UFC 211, is there anything else that Joanna Champion has to prove? (Maybe have her fight Thug Rose Namajunas?)

Andrade was tough. She even took Joanna down, although not for long and not often, but she couldn’t damage her badly enough to tip the fight to her favor. Joanna did what she had always done, even when she had a tough weight cut beforehand.

Damian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal

On one hand, some would say Masvidal got robbed here in UFC 211 as Maia didn’t do much other than hold on to him and stay on the bottom. On the other hand, Maia did get dominant positions and even got to his opponent’s back, always being active and looking to get a submission. Some may disagree with it being a split decision, but I think it really was that close.

I first thought of this fight as a robbery since Masvidal did seem to be the more active and aggressive fighter. I then had to slap myself for thinking like a “Just Bleed” fan who only thinks in terms of punching people in the face and being unable to discern positioning and grappling.

Masvidal couldn’t finish him, and Maia did what he did best. Perhaps it may have ended up questionable due to being up against such stiff competition, but Maia now takes up Dana White’s promise of a title shot against Tyron Woodley. If there’s anything that can unquestionably threaten Woodley’s reign, it’s Maia’s jiu jitsu.

Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez

There were high hopes for Yair Rodriguez winning over the veteran and former lightweight champion here in UFC 211, but it seems like Frankie Edgar did have an answer for him and can still hang with top competition. That eye got in really bad shape, which earned Edgar the doctor stoppage win just before the third round over the young buck.

It wasn’t even that much of a contest. People came in thinking Rodriguez will give Edgar a steep challenge, mostly due to how good he looked against the likes of Andre Fili and BJ Penn, as well as him being 11 years younger than his opponent. But Edgar gave the kid a damn good thrashing, blowing up Rodriguez’s left eye with his boxing.

David Branch vs. Krzysztof Jotko

Why this got bumped up to the main card instead of Alvarez vs. Poirier, I’ll never know. Maybe they wanted the preliminaries to have more viewers, but that’s like splitting up your forces to invade Russia. Whatever you may think of the competitors and what they had to do, this fight stunk as an opener to the main card. You can bet everyone started yawning after this.

At least this didn’t end in a no-contest.

UFC 211 Preliminaries and Other Comments

The story in the prelims is pretty much the no-contest between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier due to the former landing illegal knees to his opponent’s head (Oh no, not again…). Good on Poirier for standing up for Alvarez amid all the boos because that really isn’t right at all. Then again, most of those dweebs are “Just Bleed” fans anyway who are most likely drunk, even when it wasn’t the main card yet.

Dallas, Texas. What did you expect?

When you look at the finish, Alvarez lands 3 knees against Poirier, who was roughly in the same position Chris Weidman was against Gegard Mousasi. But he collapses and has his whole weight resting on his knees and hands when the third knee hit his face, and that’s most likely why the no-contest happened. The resulting post-fight interview was awkward, but also showed the respect the two competitors had for each other.

Cortney Casey’s win against Jessica Aguilar is also noteworthy. It’s mostly considered an upset, most likely due to Aguilar being better-known than her opponent, but perhaps it’s due to her considering Casey a “tune-up fight.” It turned out to be the opposite, with Casey getting the unanimous decision win.

Casey definitely earned a fan in me.

Finally, a word on a damn good fight. Enrique Barzola vs. Gabriel Benitez should be a Fight of the Year candidate, or at least be seen by more people. If you haven’t watched it yet, do so now on Fight Pass or wherever else you may find it because it was definitely a slobberknocker.

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