Stipe Miocic vs Junior dos Santos
Although the rematch has come at an unexpected time seeing as Dos Santos is ranked at #4 and 1-1 since beating Stipe it’s had a positive response from the fans. The first fight was a classic, I for one was hoping these two would meet again at some point in the future.
Three is the highest number of heavyweight title defenses in UFC history (non-consecutive), Randy Couture had three defenses over the span of two separate title reigns. The heavyweight division has seen more title changes than other weight division since the UFC’s formation.
Miocic has expressed his desire to be the first dominant champion, with a title defense on his record already a win against JDS ties him level with Cain Velasquez & Randy Couture for most consecutive title defenses. Only one fight away from setting a new record.
It seems like a distant memory thinking about when Junior Dos Santos knocked out the man many people expected to be the long-reigning champion, Cain Velasquez. A year later Velasquez avenged the loss and put a stamp on the rivalry by winning the third rubber match. Following the loss in the third fight, he was matched up against Stipe Miocic who gave him more trouble than the oddsmakers thought he would (+300 underdog). With a loss against Overeem, a win against Ben Rothwell & various issues with fighters ranked higher Dos Santos finds himself back in title contention.
The heavyweight division hasn’t changed much in terms of new blood in recent years, excluding Francis Ngannou the familiar names have just swapped places in the rankings. Werdum, Velasquez, & Overeem all sit above JDS and any one of these could be the next challenger to the throne. Four and a half years after losing the belt will JDS continue the tradition of the title frequently changing hands or, is Stipe Miocic the exception to the rule.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Andrade
On the subject of Dominant champions, Joanna is currently two fights away from equalling Ronda Rousey’s record of 6 title defenses. The odds for this fight opened as the tightest for a joanna Jedrzejczyk contest since she’s been a champion. Joanna opened at -165 or 8/13 the challenger Jessica Andrade’s odds were +125 or 11/8.
The most potent threat Andrade possess is the ability to finish fights, out of her 16 wins only 4 have come by decision, the 12 finishes are made up of 7 submissions & 5 knockouts. Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz enjoyed periods of success against Joanna however they lacked the punching/kicking power to seriously threaten a striker of Joanna’s technical proficiency. Andrade showed against Angela Hill she has serious power for a female strawweight, arguably the hardest hitter in the strawweight division.
This fight should be a good test of Joanna’s character as I think she’ll have to overcome some adversity to get the win on Saturday night. As skillful as Joanna is she’s not renowned for finishing opponents. Five rounds is a long time to avoid Andrade’s swarming attacks, it will be interesting to see how the champion nullifies Andrade’s weapons.
Potential Fight of the Night
Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier
Yes, I know this fight is headlining the prelims and as such not a part of the main card but seeing as Cejudo vs Pettis has been canceled Alvarez vs Poirier should be kicking off the main card in my opinion.
Two fighters who have knockout power with questionable punch resistance. This is one of the more obvious contenders to pick for an exciting fight, at least on paper. You could see both fighters possibly hitting the mat at some point and recovering as we’ve seen both guys do before. Be prepared for a fast-paced back and forth battle.
Main Card Picks
Stipe Miocic vs Junior dos Santos (Miocic)
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Andrade (Jedrzejczyk)
Demian Maia vs Jorge Masvidal (Maia)
Frankie Edgar vs Yair Rodriguez (Rodriguez)
Krzysztof Jotko vs David Branch (Jotko)