The highly anticipated stacked UFC 211 delivered great fights. Several highly ranked contenders faced off as the opener to back to back championship fights. The card ended on a high note but a bad opening PPV fight and a confusing no contest for the headlining preliminary fight left an unnecessary cloud of incompetence over the event. Below are my notes on the 12 fights which were hurriedly typed out on my lunch break in a Monday morning induced state of soullessness.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Light Heavyweight – Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Joachim Christensen – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 1 – 2:21)
The night started off with a light heavyweight match up featuring one of the most complicated names in human history. Antigulov didn’t need a lot of time to submit Christensen in the first round. He softened Antigulov with hard left, took him to the ground, took back, contained Christensen in a scramble escape attempt, and got under his chin.
Featherweight – Enrique Barzola def. Gabriel Benitez – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Barzola took Benitez to the ground 10 times by my count but was unable to keep him there long. Benitez jumped back to his feet almost immediately after every takedown leading to a battle in the clinch. The fighters traded several kicks early in the fight and spent most of the 3 rounds going to the ground and fighting in the clinch.
In the third round Barzola took the back of Benitez and looked for a rear-naked choke. Benitez looked done but was somehow able to escape and get back to this feet. Right at the final bell Benitez dropped Barzola with a hard punch. If the fight lasted just a few seconds longer, Benitez would have been in a good position for a late round upset.
Women’s Strawweight – Cortney Casey def. Jessica Aguilar – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Casey entered her fight with Aguilar with a massive reach and height advantage. She came out swinging at a high pace that she was able to keep through all 3 rounds, a testament to her conditioning. Aguilar scored a takedown and threw several hammer fists. Casey got back to her feet, landed a left and threw another flurry of strikes as Aguilar was backed up against the cage. The fight went to the ground where Casey laid on her back and Aguilar stood on her feet holding the ankle of Casey. The ref stood them up where Casey landed a right upper cut and a knee before going into the clinch. Aguilar landed a hard right after the bell which appeared to tag Casey.
In the second round Casey threw another flurry of punches and landed a knee before falling to the ground. Aguilar remained on her feet dodging up kicks from Casey who was on the ground on her back. The ref stood Casey up who then landed a combo and went into the clinch with Aguilar. Casey went back to the ground where she threw more up kicks at Aguilar.
Casey landed frequent strike sin the third. An upper cut and flurry of strikes opened up a wound on the face of Aguilar. The fighters went in and out of the clinch in the third round traded blows.
Preliminary Card (FX)
Lightweight – James Vick def. Marco Polo Reyes – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 2:39)
The impossibly tall lightweight James Vick destroyed Reyes in less than 3 minutes. Both fighters threw haymakers wildly but Vick was able to connect dropping Reyes with a right hand. Vick jumped on top of Reyes and finished him with hammer fists. This performance will likely make Vick worthy of a top 15 lightweight ranking.
Heavyweight – Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter – KO elbow – (RD 2 – 3:36)
The craziest fight of the night that didn’t end in a illegal knee stoppage was between Sherman and Coulter. Sherman fits his vanilla gorilla nickname as he towered over the shorter Coulter. Sherman ate a hard right early and appeared to be dazed. Sherman recovered and injured the lead leg of Coulter with a powerful leg kick. Coulter changed his stance to protect his injured leg and was clipped by Sherman before the round ended.
In the second round Coulter landed a right and ate a knee. Sherman attacked the hurt leg of Coulter causing him to crumple to the ground. Sherman unloaded ground and pound which Coulter inexplicably survived and got back to his feet. Coulter broke the clinch by landing a hard elbow. He ate more kicks on his bad leg making it almost impossible to stand. He didn’t give up and swung hard at Sherman dazing him with more strikes. Sherman responded by landing a knee and an overhand left. Coulter responded by clipping Sherman again. The two fighters were stumbling around in a state of exhaustion and daze of eating lots of shots.
The fighters continued to trade blows in a sloppy but fun to watch exchange. Sherman forced Coulter up against the cage and dropped him with a knee to the head, two leg kicks, and a huge right combo. This was a gnarly fight as both fighters refused to give up and played little defense in the slug fest.
Featherweight – Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly – TKO punches – (RD 3 – 0:39)
Jason Knight, with the cheering of his fans sporting shirts with confederate flags on them, defeated Chas Skelly early in the third round.
Knight landed a combo before eating a left hook in the first round. Skelly scored a takedown and both fighters partook in technical ground fighting. The fighters got back to their feet after the thrilling ground scramble and Skelly landed a left jab before scoring a second takedown.
Skelly fell to the ground in the second round and Knight let him get back to his feet. Knight began talking serious shit in the second round after eating shots. Knight landed counter right on the attacks of Skelly. The fighters entered a long clinch and Knight scored a takedown while trying to get Skelly in a guillotine choke. Another ground scramble led to a cut on the cheek of Knight.
In the third round Knight dropped Skelly with a left and right upper cut combo. He hammer fisted him to get the TKO. The ref took too long to call the fight as Skelly was out and ate several unnecessary shots.
Lightweight – Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier – No contest illegal knees – (RD 2 – 4:12)
The fight that should have been moved to the main card but in an effort to get viewers to tune into the awful FS1 broadcast remained a preliminary fight ended in confusion and turmoil.
Nothing since the “promise scholarship” that I received from the state of Michigan for receiving good test scores which was revoked, has something such as the “unified” rules of MMA been so ironically named. It’s weird and outdated that each state within the U.S. has their own fighting commission that combat sports must abide. Texas, like many states, have yet to accept the new MMA rules yet which leaves the viewers, fighters, and commentators in a constant state of confusion on what is legal and what is illegal.
The classification of a downed opponent is the rule that has been the biggest change. We all saw in the Weidman/Mousasi fight how an illegal knee or kick to a downed opponent can end in a confusing win for Mousasi. The same exact thing happened in the Alvarez/Poirier fight but it ended in a no contest. In the second round Alvarez had Poirier up against the cage. Poirier was doing the dumb giraffe walk with his feet and hands both on the ground. Alvarez landed three knees, two of which were legal in both set of rules, but the third and final knee landed after Poirier fell to the ground. Herb stopped the fight for the illegal strike and then the fight was called as a no contest. It could be argued that Alvarez landed the knee thinking Poirier was still standing. Why did the fight end? Why wasn’t Alvarez deducted a point? If the fight had to end due to the significance of the strike, shouldn’t the win be rewarded to Poirier? I don’t understand how a fighter absorbs and illegal strike and receives a no contest. That seems highly unfair.
The real tragedy is that this fight ruled. Poirier hurt Alvarez early but Alvarez fired back and hurt Poirier. This fight had the makings to be the fight of the night but ended in controversial fashion that makes no sense. The UFC really needs to figure this shit out.
Both fighters were respectful after the fight and were just as bummed as the crowd and the viewers.
Main Card (PPV)
Middleweight – David Branch – Krzysztof Jotko – Decision split – (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Easily the worst fight of the night was the opener on the PPV. David Branch received the victory, but he didn’t impress me with his performance and the 9th ranked middleweight Jotko took a major step back in climbing the ranking.
In the first round Branch scored a takedown and landed a left and an elbow preventing from Jotko from breaking free. As Jotko struggled back to his feet Branch missed an opportunity to take his back. Jotko took the fight back to the ground and the fighters got back to their feet in the clinch were they remained through the end of the round.
Jotko landed a spinning back fist in the break of a clinch in the second round. A short time stoppage was granted for a nut shot on Jotko. The fighters traded strikes before Branch scored another takedown. Jotko jumped back to his feet right away and went in and out of the clinch with Branch. Jotko complained to the ref while in the clinch who promptly separated them. Branch scored another takedown and Jotko bounced right back to his feet.
The third round saw more of the same boring clinch battles. Branch scored a takedown and attempted a choke which Jotko was able to escape. Jotko landed an upper cut at the end of the 3 round fight that felt like 10 rounds. Jotko and his dragon ball tattoo lost to the 36 year old Branch who hadn’t fought in the UFC since 2011.
Featherweight – Frankie Edgar def. Yair Rodriguez – TKO doctor stoppage – (RD 2 – 5:00)
Yair Rodriguez is a 24 year old talented featherweight that made the legend B.J. Penn look like a chump. Rodriguez was well on his way to a title shot, he just had to defeat the aging star Frankie Edgar.
Edgar reminded Rodriguez the difference between the good of the featherweight division and the elite. Edgar is the obstacle to reach the elite of the featherweights and he fucked Rodriguez up. Edgar took Rodriguez to the ground in the first and second round and just destroyed his left eye. He landed punches, sharp elbows, and controlled his breathing while on top of Rodriguez. In between the second and third round, the doctors called the fight. The left eye of Rodriguez was swollen shut and looked horrifying.
It was painful to watch Edgar continue to crush the mouse under Rodriguez eye which swelled to a size that encompassed his eye ball. Brutal.
Welterweight – Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal – Decision split – (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
I was extremely impressed with both Maia’s and Masvidal’s most recent victories over Matt Brown and Donald Cerrone respectively. Going into this fight I predicted Maia would latch on and submit Masvidal via perfect jiu-jitsu.
It didn’t take long for Maia to get a hold of Masvidal and bring him to the ground. Maia took the back of Masvidal while eating defensive shots. Masvidal got to his feet with Maia on his back refusing to let go. Somehow Masvidal was able to break free of the grip of Maia and clip him with a flurry of strikes.
Time was stopped in the second round to cut off some tape hanging off from the glove of Masvidal. Maia took Masvidal to the ground again and controlled the ground game. He landed a shot to the back of the head of Masvidal at the end of the round.
Maia took Masvidal to the ground again in the third round and held him in a body triangle. Masvidal refused to get submitted and talked trash while trading ground and pound. Maia earned the split decision but Masvidal was surprising in his competent jiu-jitsu defense.
Women’s Strawweight – Joanna Jedrzejczyk ( c ) def. Jessica Andrade – Decision unanimous – (50-45, 50-44, 50-45)
Just a few minutes into the championship fight between Jedrzejczyk and Andrade I told my friends there is going to be a new strawweight champ. Andrade placed a huge mouse on the forehead of Jedrzejczyk and literally picked her up and threw he around. The strength and power of Andrade looked unstoppable while the strikes of Jedrzejczyk didn’t appear to do any damage.
Then the next 4 rounds happened and I never looked more stupid. Jedrzejczyk was masterful in her striking and defense in the final four rounds. Her kicks and strikes were surgically placed and rarely missed. She brutalized the lead leg of Andrade with kicks and kept her distance not eating anymore significant strikes. There isn’t a lot to say about this fight other than Jedrzejczyk proved she is one of the best fighters in the world. Andrade didn’t stand a chance after Jedrzejczyk learned her timing and movements. This is probably the best objective performance from any fighter I have ever seen.
Heavyweight – Stipe Miocic ( c ) def. Junior dos Santos – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 2:22)
Miocic looked extra fit in his close up as Buffer introduced him before the fight. Junior fucked up his leg early with a powerful low kick. Miocic was obviously injured as he limped around the ring on his bad leg. Knowing that he probably wouldn’t be able to last 5 rounds on his leg, Miocic walked Junior down and dropped him with a right which bounced his head of the cage. Miocic finished him off on the ground to receive the TKO.
After winning Miocic jumped on top of the cage and screamed, “too fucking easy!”
UFC Fight Night 109 is two weeks away on Saturday, May 28th 2017.