Saturday night, the Ultimate Fighting Championship made a stop at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas for UFC 211.
Former World Series of Fighting champion David Branch made his return to the octagon Saturday taking on Krzysztof Jotko at UFC 211. Branch snapped Jotko's five-fight win streak when he won by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in what most who were in attendance would call a 'snoozer' of a fight. Both fighters were able to score takedowns in what was most certainly a close fight. While Branch (21-3) was victorious in his first UFC fight since 2011 securing his 11th overall win in a row, he likely didn't like his overall performance in the fight.
In the second fight of UFC 211, former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar took on a young guy on the come-up in Yair Rodriguez, who had won his last eight fights. Edgar came out early and showed his veteran presence by taking the fight to Rodriguez for 10 solid minutes before the fight doctor ended the fight in between the second and third rounds. Officially, Frankie Edgar defeated Yair Rodriguez by TKO to improve to 22-5-1. The victory marked the second win in a row, and seventh in his last eight contests for Edgar.
"Before the fight, I said no matter what happens, Yair is going to be a superstar," Frankie Edgar said. "Just not yet, you know? Sometimes you need losses like that to get to the next level of UFC. He's going to be alright."
The third fight of UFC 211 featured two welterweights, Demian Maia, who had won six straight fights coming into UFC 211, and Jorge Masvidal, who had won three of his past five. Maia vs. Masvidal proved to be a good matchup, one that Maia won via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) to improve to 25-6 in the UFC.
Dana White informed Maia after the fight that the next time he steps in the octagon it will be with a UFC title on the line against Tyron Woodley.
"He's one of the best jiu-jitsu fighters I ever fought in the UFC, I thought I was winning because he didn't really dominate the standup," said Maia. "Down on the ground, I was totally dominating."
The fourth fight of UFC 211 was also the co-main event and featured the undefeated Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade for the UFC Strawweight Championship.
While Andrade deserves tons of credit for her ability to keep coming back time and time again and not be intimidated, Jędrzejczyk controlled this fight from the beginning, and did what she wanted, when she wanted to. In the end, Jedrzejczyk defeated Andrade by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-45) and retained her UFC Strawweight Championship. For Jędrzejczyk (14-0), she's another step closer to breaking Ronda Rousey's UFC Championship record for most title defenses. Rousey's record is six consecutive title defenses, Jędrzejczyk victory at UFC 211 marks her fifth.
"No one is taking this belt from me," Jędrzejczyk said. "No one. Nobody."
The main event of the night featured UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic, who is also a firefighter, against former UFC champion Junior dos Santos.As it turns out, the fighter intros took longer than this fight did as UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic showed everyone why he's got the belt. Miocic knocked Junior dos Santos (18-5) out in the first round after Santos appeared to get caught up on the edge of the cage. That should take nothing away from the performance Miocic brought to the octagon in UFC 211 after badly injuring his shin in the opening minutes of the bout.
While UFC 211 didn't produce any new champions, it did present plenty of MMA action, as well as two dominant champions who kept their historic winning streaks as UFC champions alive.
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]