Check out five major storylines headed into UFC 211 on Saturday night.
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Revenge is sweet?
Since losing to Junior dos Santos three years ago, Stipe Miocic has won four straight fights, all by way of knockout, while taking home three post-fight bonuses along the way.
Oh yeah, and he’s UFC champion now.
The Cleveland native looks for his second title defense on Saturday night at UFC 211 and wants nothing more than to avenge his only loss in the last five years.
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Will Joanna be challenged?
Joanna Jedrzejczyk has _maybe_ lost two rounds during her run as UFC champion. And she lost those rounds in a fight that she ended up handily winning in a battle against Claudia Gadelha last year.
Other than that, Jedrzejczyk has been downright dominant during her run as champion, amassing a 517 to 178 advantage in significant strikes in her other three title defenses.
Odds are, things change a bit for the Polish superstar, but just how much remains to be seen.
Her opponent, Jessica Andrade is an extremely talented fighter who is accustomed to scraping with much bigger women as she began her UFC career as a bantamweight before dropping to strawweight last year.
She’s a rare mix of power and speed and fully capable of putting the pressure on Jedrzejczyk and winning rounds on fight now. But will she fade like Jedrzejczyk’s other opponents? We’ll find out on Saturday.
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The lightweight matchup between former champion Eddie Alvarez and rising contender Dustin Poirier was already a great addition to an already stacked card, but the fact that it’s on free TV makes the fight that much better.
Fans can tune-in to FX on Saturday, just before the Pay-Per-View starts, to catch two of the division’s most talented fighters throw down for 15 minutes. And given that they have a combined 38 finishes under their belt, I doubt it even lasts that long.
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Old School vs. New School
High flying, 24-year-old featherweight phenom Yair Rodriguez takes on the toughest challenge of his career in Frankie Edgar on Saturday night.
Rodriguez is immensely talented and has been extremely fun for fans to watch since making his debut in 2014. And while he’s grown a lot during that span, he’ll be facing off against a guy who has more wins than Rodriguez has professional fights.
It’s going to take a near-perfect performance and a significantly improved ground game for Rodriguez to get past Edgar, who has undoubtedly seen everything inside the Octagon.
That isn’t to say the young Rodriguez doesn’t have a chance, and if there’s anything we’ve learned from the up and coming generation of fighters, it’s that they have no problem ushering out older fighters to make a name for themselves.
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Who maintains momentum? Maia or Masvidal?
The two hottest welterweights on the roster collide when Demian Maia puts his six-fight win streak on the line against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211.
After beating the likes of Carlos Condit, Matt Brown, Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny, Maia very well could have sat on the sidelines and waited for his shot at the welterweight belt. Instead, he decided to accept a fight against Masvidal, who has been riding his own wave headed into Saturday’s big event.
Masvidal has risen all the way to fifth in the welterweight rankings after winning his last three fights, including back-to-back TKOs of Jake Ellenberger and Donald Cerrone.
Given the current landscape of the welterweight division, the winner here deserves the next shot at the 170-pound belt.